Golf's Physical Footprint Shrinking Quickly in Michigan

The real estate boom that brought about a boom in golf course construction is a thing of the past. Now golf courses are closing around the country as the sport recedes from its peak popularity.

1 minute read

April 14, 2016, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


JC Reindl reports on the waning popularity of golf and the decreasing physical footprint of golf courses around the state of Michigan.

The number of courses peaked in Michigan in the early 2000s with more than 970 public and private courses, according to past reports by the National Golf Foundation. Michigan ranked No. 3 in the country in 2001, behind only California and Florida, where golf is played year-round.

By January 2015, Michigan was down to 790 golf courses -- fourth place behind New York. The foundation last week declined to share its latest report with the Free Press, but a source who has seen the 2016 rankings said Michigan fell to 773 courses with just a hairsbreadth lead on fifth-place Texas.

Reindl blames golf's decreasing popularity on generational shifts: Some baby boomers are growing too old for the game, and Millennials are less interested in golf than previous generations. One interpretation of the decreasing footprint of golf, however, is that supply reached a glut in the 1990s and 2000s as developers included golf courses as a de rigueur amenity for new housing developments. 

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