Membership Sports and Recreation Clubs

SIC 7997

Industry report:

This industry classification covers sports and recreation clubs that are restricted to use by members and their guests. Country, golf, tennis, yacht, and amateur sports and recreation clubs are included in this industry. Health clubs and other fitness facilities are classified in SIC 7991: Physical Fitness Facilities.

The largest categories within this industry were recreation and sports clubs, country clubs, and golf clubs, with country clubs and golf clubs producing the highest revenues. There were over 11,000 golf courses in the United States in the early 2010s, about half of which were country clubs and membership-based golf clubs and the other half comprising public courses. According to IBISWorld, in 2011 country clubs and golf courses produced revenues of more than $23 billion and employed more than 327,000 workers.

American country clubs were born in the late 1880s--a creation of the wealthy upper class as an exclusive social setting in which to enjoy various athletic and recreational endeavors. The clubs flourished until the late 1920s, when the Depression forced many of them to close. A renaissance took place in the late 1940s and 1950s, spawned by post-war affluence and the increased interest in golf, which has enjoyed a tremendous amount of growth across the nation for the past several decades. As a direct result of this heightened popularity, many country clubs were built during this period. The trend of the mid-1990s continued through the end of the first decade of the 2000s, as golfing at private country clubs became a major pastime for many Americans.

Golf Clubs.
Many private golf courses offer a variety of different memberships, with the most sought-after and expensive membership being a full-equity membership that provide members with full use of the golf course and a share of stock in the club. More restricted memberships include dining room privileges only, while some memberships allow use of all facilities except the golf course.

ClubCorp International, a privately held corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas, was the world's largest private club and resort operator in the early 2010s. ClubCorp owned or managed more than 150 clubs, resorts, public fee golf courses, sports clubs, and resorts worldwide in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and two foreign countries. The company had assets of $2 billion and employed 14,000 workers. In 2010 the firm's CEO and president, Eric Affeldt, was ranked number one on the "Most Powerful People in Golf" list by Golf Inc. Another major player in the industry was the privately held American Golf Corp., based in Santa Monica, California. The firm operated 90 public and private golf courses and resorts in the United States and helped establish the American Golf Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the game of golf.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golfers has declined only slightly since 2000, whereas the number of "core" golfers (those who golf at least eight times a year) declined nearly 18 percent between 2000 and 2007. The National Sporting Goods Association reported that 21.9 million Americans went golfing in 2010. In addition, at the end of the first decade of the 2000s, many country clubs and private golf courses struggled as a result of a global recession that caused consumers to cut discretionary spending. At the same time, they faced rising fuel and fertilizer costs. Resort-based courses were hit the hardest as consumers cut back on vacation plans.

By 2012 things were looking up for the industry. According to Bloomberg News in April 2012, "Golf in the U.S. is growing for the first time in five years as an economic recovery strengthens," At that time, the industry was worth an estimated $25 billion, and Augusta National in Georgia was ranked the number one golf course in the United States by Golf Digest, followed by Pine Valley in New Jersey, Shinnecock Hills in New York, Oakmont in Pennsylvania, and Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California.

Other Membership Sports and Recreation Clubs.
Americans support a wide array of athletic and recreational clubs offering a variety of sports and recreational activities as varied as bowling leagues, hockey clubs, yachting, swimming, archery, and tennis. Many of these establishments are independent clubs with no other affiliations and are privately owned by the club membership. Others operate as subsidiaries of larger corporations.

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News and information about Membership Sports and Recreation Clubs

Study Says Labor Growth Is Fastest at Nonprofits
The Washington Post; August 11, 1987; 699 words
...higher than in the for-profit businesses. Those areas were research labs, skilled nursing homes, membership sports and recreation clubs, certain health and allied services, child-care and social services. @Slug: C03STU
Competitve Sports Offered through University Recreation Club Sports
States News Service; August 20, 2012; 365 words
...of Arkansas: Club Sports, offered through...of University Recreation, provide individuals...current UREC membership is eligible to participate. Clubs will begin practices...Aug. 20. All clubs can locate their...location on the club sports website...
Study Says Labor Growth Is Fastest at Nonprofits
The Washington Post; August 11, 1987; 699 words
...care services, museums, art galleries and membership organizations. The fourth group of nonprofit...were research labs, skilled nursing homes, membership sports and recreation clubs, certain health and allied services, child...
Audit Shows Defence's Big Spending on Entertainment, Taxis and Golf
Morning Bulletin, The Rochkhampton, Qld.; May 9, 2016; 496 words
...Defence spent $3.3million on country clubs, sports memberships, golf course fees and entertainment...category 7997", which includes "clubs, country clubs, membership (athletic, recreation, sports), private golf clubs, entertainment...
SICKENED BY THESE TAXES
The Boston Globe (Boston, MA); July 9, 1990; 700+ words
...Bathing beaches, membership. Beach clubs, membership. Boating clubs, membership. Bowling...professional and semiprofessional. Bridge clubs, membership. Clubs, membership, sports and recreation, except physical fitness. Country clubs...
UNIVERSITY RECREATION CLUB SPORTS COLLECTING GOODS FOR FULL CIRCLE FOOD PANTRY.
States News Service; November 3, 2011; 290 words
...of Arkansas: The University Recreation Club Sports program is partnering with the...their education. The University Recreation membership office located at HPER 225 will...assistant director for Club Sports, at sdere@uark.edu or 575...
Transform or lose out, sports clubs told.(News)
Sunday Tribune (South Africa); May 25, 2008; 700+ words
...days of elite sports clubs with exclusive memberships and unprofitable...Department of Parks, Recreation, Cemetries...facilities. Membership dropped and clubs such as Albert Park Bowling Club and eight tennis...Bluff Bowling Club, Lahee Park Bowling Club, Point ...
Research and Markets Adds: 2012 U.S. Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers Report.
Health & Beauty Close-Up; November 3, 2011; 535 words
...Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers Report...Gym, athletic clubs, & fitness centers...comparable to SIC 7997 - Membership recreation clubs -5 percent comparable...Physical fitness clubs with training equipment -Athletic club and gymnasiums...

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