Woes Continue for U.S. Golf Industry

For the eighth year in a row more golf courses closed than opened. And the difference isn't even close.

According to the National Golf Foundation, which tracks such statistics, 14 18-hole courses opened in 2013, while 157.5 courses shut their doors during the year. That closure total was three more than 2012. Jupiter, Fla.-based organization counts every nine holes as 0.5 of a course.

Since 2006, course closures have outnumbered openings after more than 4,500 courses had opened over the previous 15 years, a 40 percent growth rate. Since 2006, 643 18-hole courses have closed, the NGF said.

Many of the courses built during the "boom" period were within real estate projects. But the American recession caused the reduction in home sales and, coupled with other factors, forced the shutdown of the courses. Golf club memberships and rounds played also declined during the recession.

According to the NGF, 66 percent of the shuttered courses charged less than $40 for greens fees during peak times. The closings decreased the total number of American golf courses to 14,564.5, the foundation said.

Public courses made up 97 percent (151.5) of the closures, with private courses accounting for 4 percent (six). A total of 8.5 public courses opened last year, compared with 5.5 new private courses.