The state of golf

According to the board game Cranium, Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in America.

Minnesota: Most golfers per capita. Surprised?

And the grand game employs more than a few able-bodied hackers. The Minnesota state golf industry employs some 35,000 workers, according to an independent study and has a $2.4 billion impact on its economy. Same study found that translates to $776.7 million of wage income. It didn’t say if this was an annual figure. Nonetheless, that’s a pretty big impact from a small sport.

The Minnesota Golf Economy study said the sport’s economic impact was on par with with the following industries: dairy products ($1.1 billion); printed circuit assembly ($1.3 billion); and accounting, tax and payroll services ($1.4 billion).

It’s easy to pawn that off as rich people are buying a lot of clubs and playing a lot of courses. But, in my experience, we also have a passionate bunch.

According to a 2005 National Golf Foundation study: Minnesota consistently ranks at or near the top in golfer participation in the U.S. (for 2005, Minnesota was No. 1, with a 27 percent household participation rate), with more than 733,000 Minnesotans playing golf.

And while there’s no empirical evidence to back this up, I believe sunlight has a direct correlation to club sales.

Still, the Minnesota Golf Association says a mild November led to a 114 percent increase in the number of golf rounds in November 2009, compared to November 2008. Not bad. I know I played in Wisconsin the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m hoping to get out by St. Patty’s Day but that probably ain’t happenin’. But I digress.

The latest issue of Minnesota Golfer also notes that Minnesotan’s scores or “performance” as it put it, was up 3.9 percent in 2009, but down 0.2 percent overall in the U.S. Ha! So much for game-improvement technology.

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