Millions of people play golf every year, and in 2011 Golf Courses gained $22 billion dollars in revenue. This statistic combined with golf’s inherent place in the natural environment lead to questions of value and development for golf course owners. In 1991, The Audubon Society created their Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP) to promote environmentally sustainable practices for golf courses and to recognize the courses that are the most environmentally in both the United States and around the world.

This paper builds off of prior research that connects golf course beauty with revenue by examining the effects of membership in the ACSP and greens fees for top golf courses in the United States. The sample of 208 golf courses was selected by using Golf Digest’s top 100 courses, top 100 public courses, and remaining top courses in each state.

With price as the dependent variable it was regressed against a dummy variable for membership in the ACSP and other variables including location, whether the course is part of a resort, whether the course has or regularly hosts professional golf tournaments, and the age of the course. The results indicated a statistically significant relationship between price and the ACSP, as well as being a resort and hosting professional golf. The study exemplifies that golf courses can be environmentally friendly, highly ranked, and charge a high price all at the same time.


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