The number of golf courses is measured in 18 hole equivalents meaning two nine hole facilities count as one 18 hole course and a club with 27 holes counts as 1½. So, when the NationalGolf Foundation reports the number of golf facilities in the country they convert everything to 18 hole equivalents or for short – 18HEQ.
Thus according to the NGF in 2011 when there was a netloss of 138.5 golf courses it actually means 138.5 18HEQ. Their annualsurvey showed 157.5 18HEQ closures versus just 19 openings and the closures says the report, “were disproportionatelylower priced public facilities, including alarge number of 9-hole courses.”
“The cumulative reduction in course supply over the past six years has been quite modest, and pales in comparison to the net increase in facilities that occurred over the two decades prior to this recent pullback,” says Joe Beditz, President and CEO of the NGF. “In 2000 alone we gained 362 courses, and over the 20-year period from 1986-2005, we added more than 4,500 courses (18HEQ.) The slow correction that is now occurring is very much overdue and necessary, to help return the golf course business to a more healthy equilibrium between supply and demand.”
The NGF also tracks how busy golf courses were and compared with to the average number of golfers during 1986-1990, in 2011 there were an average of 17% fewer golfers per course.