Chapter Resources

Virginia GCSA participates in groundbreaking economic impact study; presents findings at 2006 Golf 20/20 conference

The Virginia GCSA (VGCSA) was in the spotlight at the seventh annual Golf 20/20 conference, held Oct. 30 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. VGCSA Executive Director David Norman presented a preview of a report on a groundbreaking economic impact study conducted for the state of Virginia. The golf industry now has a better means to communicate the value it delivers through a template and survey process developed by GOLF 20/20.

Golf 20/20 is a strategic alliance of the golf industry that combines insightful research with strategic acumen aimed at furthering the industry’s knowledge, creating new programs and identifying areas ideal for the sport’s expansion. Its mission is to align the golf industry behind a plan that addresses the future of golf in a strategic manner, with an emphasis on accelerating growth and participation, and creating new avenues of access into the game.

The Virginia economic impact study was commissioned by the Virginia Golf Council, a collaborative organization with representation from the VGCSA, the Virginia Turfgrass Council, the Virginia State Golf Association, the Middle Atlantic PGA and the Virginia Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America. GOLF 20/20 was hired to complete the study in cooperation with the research firm SRI International.

The group determined that there was a need to present systematic information about the relevance and impact of the golf industry to policy-makers in Virginia. This type of information is vital to the future success of the golf industry.

At the Golf 20/20 Conference, SRI’s Peter Ryan reviewed the methodology used in the research, as a “template” was formulated for potential use by other states. Virginia was selected to be the first state to commission this study, and Norman reported on initial findings regarding the impact of the golf industry on Virginia’s economy.

SRI’s model developed the “Golf Cluster” to identify both the core industries involved in golf, along with the enabled industries (see illustration below):

In measuring Virginia’s golf economy, SRI utilized practices that are consistent with those used by government. Using the “RIMS II” (Regional Input-Output Modeling) system, the study measured the following elements:

  • Direct Impact: New economic activity (production, employment) linked to provision of golf products and services
  • Indirect Impact: Increase in regional production of goods and services that supply golf courses and related industries
  • Induced Impact: Increase in consumer spending enabled by employment in core and enabled golf industries
  • Multiplier effects: The idea that the impact of new golf activity on consumer spending will disproportionately exceed the direct impact (witnessed in indirect and induced impacts)

It is clear that golf is a very significant industry in the Virginia economy. The message is:

  • The golf Industry makes a substantial contribution to economic activity in the state
  • Employment — Golf employs large numbers in full- and part-time jobs
  • Wages — The labor income from golf is important
  • Taxes – The golf industry generates significant tax revenues for Virginia
  • Golf has many benefits — recreational, social, economic
  • The golf industry is a responsible steward of the environment

To review the VGCSA economic impact study, please visit the VGCSA web site at The presentation slides from the Golf 20/20 Conference are available at:

Golf 20/20 officials indicate as many as six states will conduct similar surveys in 2007. The officials will also issue a national report for the industry in 2007. GCSAA will contribute data to the state and national reports that was attained through the Golf Course Environmental Profile project, provided by a grant from The Environmental Institute for Golf.

Why should your chapter participate in an economic impact study?

Consider the benefits to your state, chapter and members. Help communicate the value that golf delivers to the economy. Contribute to growth of the game efforts. You will need the financial and volunteer support of allied organizations, such as your state golf association, in developing a study. To learn how to get started, contact Jeff Bollig, GCSAA’s Director of Communications, at 800-472-7878, ext. 4430.


Submitted by David Norman, VGCSA executive director.

Editor’s Note: David will deliver the presentation at the Chapter Executives Session during the 2007 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim. You are encouraged to listen to David’s presentation on Thursday, Feb. 22 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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