Donald Trump Credited With Upswing In Golf Industry’s Fortunes

The booming economy under Trump has left more disposable income in the pockets of the industry's main demographic: baby boomers.

Donald Trump playing golf at a scotland course
Leon Neal / Getty Images

The booming economy under Trump has left more disposable income in the pockets of the industry's main demographic: baby boomers.

Donald Trump is getting the credit for reviving the fortunes of one industry in which he himself is heavily-invested: the golf industry.

Some industries have suffered under the Trump administration, reportedly due largely to Trump’s tariffs, including the agricultural industry and the auto industry. But in general, as Reuters reports, the economy is booming under Trump. And for a hobby industry that depends on people having disposable income, like golf, that’s the best possible news.

The past decade or so has not been good for the managers of courses, the workers who make their livings caddying or selling concessions on those courses, and the manufacturers and retailers of equipment. Golf can get expensive, and the past decade has seen the value of stock portfolios of those who can afford to play golf plummet ever since the economic downturn of 2007-2008. That recession lasted years, and the toll it took on the stock market lasted in some ways for almost a decade.

Another problem that has bedeviled the golf industry for the past decade or so is its lack of star power. Tiger Woods, who for a while was the face of the future of the sport, came close to sinking into obscurity, failing on the links and dogged by personal and legal problems throughout that 10-year period.

However, since the Trump administration, the economy, and the stock market, in particular, has been booming. And Tiger Woods is back with a bullet.

But most of the credit goes to Trump and the economic recovery that’s taken place during his administration, says Reuters writer Uday Sampath Kumar.

The National Golf Foundation reports that the number of people playing on its courses rose 1.7 percent from the previous year in 2018. In most industries, a 1.7 percent increase is naught but a rounding error. But for an industry that had been moribund for a decade, that’s huge.

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Take, for example, Jeff Huber of Nebraska. Once he turned 50, he decided to pay more attention to golf. And, he can afford to pay for more expensive equipment, something he said has improved his game.

Similarly, Robbie Kearney, who manages a course in Texas, says that he’s seeing more golfers out there, particularly in the 50-to-70 demographic, which is the golf industry’s bread and butter. Not only are they populating the fairways, but they’re also showing up with better and more expensive equipment.

“Those individuals are looking for the new putter and the new driver. They’re spending money on golf instruction trying to get better and beat their friends,” he says.

As Americans get older and have more free time on their hands, things are likely to improve for the golf industry — if the economy stays strong. And Kearney says that if Tiger Woods continues to perform admirably, things are only going to get better.