Charitable causes and the game of golf go hand in hand – so much so that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who considers themselves a golfer who hasn’t had the opportunity to play in at least one charity golf event. The Arizona Alliance for Golf understands the impact of the game extends far beyond individual golf courses.

Aside from charity golf tournaments raising funds for local non-profit organizations outside of the game, there are dozens of junior golf organizations just in Arizona alone who teach young people in our communities life skills through the game of golf. And according to our friends at the National Golf Foundation and GOLF 20/20, the game of golf accounts for more than $3.9 BILLION in charitable giving each year, and golf’s charitable impact is greater than Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball League and National Hockey League combined.

“Charity is at the heart of the U.S. golf industry,” says Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation, administrator of GOLF 20/20. “Golf is a key driver for charitable giving and takes pride in hosting charitable events to improve millions of lives through causes that are mostly unrelated to golf.”

Here are some highlights from the study:

  • 12,700 golf facilities (84 percent of U.S. total, 8 percent increase from 2011)
  • 143,000 events
  • 12 million participants$26,400 average per function
  • 1 percent of all U.S. charitable giving (totaled $373 billion in 2015)

Most common charitable golf event beneficiaries include health, youth, education and cultural groups nationally, regionally and locally.

More than 85 percent of organizations conducting golf events find them important because, in addition to raising significant funds, they provide exposure and networking opportunities among supporters.

The findings are based on qualitative calls and data collection from a coast-to-coast sampling of public and private golf facilities, and non-profit organizations producing golf events, conducted on behalf of GOLF 20/20 by the NGF.

You can read the full study here.