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New Golf Spending Data from American Express Business Insights Shows Generation Y as Group to WatchGolf Remains a Game for Affluent Boomers but New Generations and New Regions Show Promise
NEW YORK,  June 17, 2011 -- 

American Express Business Insights today released a special 2011 Spend Sights: US Business & Consumer Golf Spending report, which analyzes spending patterns at both public and private golf courses, as well as golf retail locations around the country. Based on actual, aggregated spending data between Q1 2007 and Q1 2011, the new research reveals several compelling trends in golf, a sport significantly impacted by weaker spending during the recession. Most notably, Generation Y, comprising individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, increased spend on golf by 27% between 2007 and 2011, while all other age groups decreased spend during this period: Seniors (ages 66 and older), -21%, Boomers (ages 46 to 66), -19%, and Generation X (ages 30 to 45), -19%.

Key findings from the American Express Business Insights 2011 Spend Sights: US Business & Consumer Golf Spending report include:

  • Golf Retail Seeing Healthy Recovery – While spending on the course has not yet posted a sustained post-recession recovery, retail spending on items such as golf equipment and apparel came back much faster with Q1 2011 spending up 10%, year-over-year.
  • New Golf Hot Spots Emerge – Several new regions have emerged as prime golfing destinations based on increases in spend at courses in their state – including South Dakota (40%), Iowa (12%) and Delaware (12%). In contrast, of the US states typically receiving the lion's share of golf spend, several saw decreases in 2010 over the year prior: California (-3%), Florida (-7%) and Georgia (-2%).
  • Businesses Show Restraint in Golf Spend – Traditionally viewed as an effective backdrop for deal-making, golf experienced a drop in activity by small and large businesses, with respective decreases in spend of 25% and 35% between Q1 2007 and Q1 2011. However, both small and large businesses have increased spending on golf courses over each of the last four quarters.

"Golf has a reputation as a rich man's game and while the numbers prove that out, it didn't help shield the sport from the impact of the recession," said Ed Jay, Senior Vice President at American Express Business Insights. "There is a surprising bright spot with Generation Y becoming the group to watch, increasing spend while older generations pull back."

The data above and many more insights are included in the new American Express Business Insights US Business & Consumer Golf Spending report, available to media for free download at

About American Express Business Insights
As part of the Global Merchant Services organization within American Express Company, American Express Business Insights provides in-depth, actionable insights into consumer and business spending at the business, industry and geographic levels, leveraging proprietary transaction data from the American Express network of approximately 90 million cards in force across over 125 markets.

American Express Business Insights produces in-depth quarterly reports for the Airline, Car Rental, Cruise, Lodging, Restaurant, Entertainment and various Luxury Retail categories, as well as sector-specific

About the 2011 Special Spend Sights Report from American Express Business Insights
The data shown in 2011 Spend Sights Special Report: US Business & Consumer Golf Spending are derived from transactions on the American Express payment network projected to reflect the general population in the consumer and business segments shown. The data do not represent American Express's own performance in the industry segments shown and do not represent the spending behavior of American Express Cardmembers overall or in any particular cardmember segment.