Oregon's booming golf industry contributes billions to state's economy, study says

A recent study says the golf industry contributes billions to the Oregon state economy. (SBG photo)

CRESWELL, Ore. - For the third consecutive year, Governor Kate Brown has named the month of May, Oregon Golf Month.

The recent State of Oregon Proclamation highlights the economic and health impacts that the industry offers.

According to an Oregon Golf Impact Study commissioned by the Oregon Golf alliance, every round of golf contributes to a total economic impact of $2 billion in Oregon, annually. That is comparable to other important Oregon industries like paper manufacturing and software publishing.

The study also found that the golf industry in Oregon supports more than 21,000 jobs with $576.4 million in wage income.

Chris Isaacson, general manager and Head Golf Professional at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, said hiring ramps up in the summer months.

"We have to add extra staff on the golf course to take care of the golf course, pro shop staff, outside services, our golf professionals, and our teaching staff," Isaacson said.

He said golfers are not only attracted to the game, but to the comradery and health benefits that come with it.

The study found that 259,000 Oregonians include golf as a part of their healthy lifestyle.

Roseburg native Bob McKee has played two or three times a week, with the same group of friends, for the last 20 years.

"There's a lot of joking, a lot of kidding, " said McKee. "Good scores, bad scores - it's just fun."

McKee and his pals are regulars at the Emerald Valley Golf Club. But Oregon's golf industry is also driven by out-of-towners.

"We do see a lot of tourism come through the Eugene area," Isaacson said.

Isaacson said courses like Emerald Valley and Bandon Dunes attract golfers -- and their wallets -- from around the country.

According to Travel Lane County, last year visitors to Lane County spent $633 million, on things like food, hotels and recreation.

Andy Vobora with Travel Lane County said golf is not the only industry bringing in money and tourists this summer. Bike tourism generates up to $500 million every year, and the solar eclipse in August could bring up to one million visitors to Oregon.

Vobora said there is also a silver lining to the wet winter. He says full rivers, lakes, and reservoirs should mean a booming water recreation season this summer.

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