CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Colorado Golf is a BIG DEAL

 Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

Yes, I'm back, blogging again about golf. And maybe this is the post where you'll find appreciation for this sport that provides so much entertainment and so much frustration (often in the same round! Sometimes on the same hole!), even though you may not play. The Colorado Golf Coalition released its 2021 Colorado Golf Economic and Environmental Impact Report, a report that hadn't been conducted in 19 years. Based on data from 2019, the 76 page report is chock-full of golf facts, impacts, and information about how the industry benefits Colorado.

A gorgeous view at the Boulder County Club (photo by Alison O'Connor)
Did you know that of the approximately 260 golf courses in Colorado, 75% of them are publicly accessible? That means you could play a round at the Broadmoor (treat yo'self!), soak up the scenery at Mariana Butte in Loveland, or play a round with a caddie at CommonGround. Colorado also has some incredible private courses that would knock your ankle socks off. Like Ballyneal in Holyoke, which is ranked #44 on Golf Digest's list of top 100 courses in America. Located in a tiny town of 2,400 people, Ballyneal is links golf at its finest.

And while golf courses are often chastised for being water hogs, all the courses in Colorado account for less than 1% of the total water used in the state. And superintendents are finding ways to water more efficiently. According to the report, "To help put things into perspective, if Colorado’s total annual water usage equaled your typical 16.9-ounce bottled drink, the amount used by Colorado golf would be less than one teaspoonful. And more than a quarter of that is reclaimed water." The vast majority of all superintendents (97%) are also using more than three water-saving techniques and have extensive water management plans. 

Golf courses also promote wildlife, pollinators, and provide so many environmental benefits (abating the heat island effect, mitigating runoff, sequestering carbon). Of the 33,061 total acreage of golf courses, about one-third is designated wetlands, water areas, and native rough. Several golf courses in Colorado are also Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certified, taking extra steps to protect land and environment through rigorous management plans.

Ok, maybe not the most exciting wildlife, but how often do you see a Canada goose perched in a tree? (photo by Alison O'Connor)
If you were one of the many who started playing (or reignited a passion for) golf during Covid, you weren't alone. Golf is essentially the perfect social distancing activity. Walking 18 holes can provide you with over 10,000 steps (more if you stray from the fairway). The number of golf rounds in Colorado increased approximately 20% in the last couple of years. (For those who play frequently, you quickly found out how hard it was to book a round on a weekend at your local muni!) Colorado golf is a $1.3 billion (yes, with a B!) industry and accounts for nearly 20,000 jobs. 

So if you're not one of the 487,300 golfers in Colorado, maybe you could put it on your list of things to try in 2022? I'll tee it up with you anytime! Full disclosure, I'm a dewsweeper (morning golfer)!

Early morning golf at Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins (photo by Alison O'Connor)


  1. Beautiful photos, Alison ! I truly appreciate all of you golfers ;-)

  2. Excellent article, great facts and figures about the great game of golf. It's true that Colorado has some of the finest courses in the nation. Thank you for sharing.