If you find yourself in a part of the United States where a new golf course opened its doors in 2012, consider yourself in rare company.
According to initial information from the National Golf Foundation, only 13.5 new golf courses (defined as 18-hole equivalents) opened in 2012 vs. 154.5 course closurers. This marks the seventh straight year that more golf courses closed than opened in the U.S.
In advance of a more exhaustive study of this data by the NGF set to be released next month, the early numbers shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone in the golf industry. Since what the NGF calls a "market correction" began in 2006, there has been a cumulative net reduction of 499.5 golf courses. As significant as that is, it still represents only an overall drop of 3.3 percent from the peak supply year of 2005.
Of those 154.5 golf courses that closed this past year, a disproportionate number of them were public facilities (68 percent of total closures).