SALT LAKE CITY -- The Governor says golf is one of Utah’s best kept secrets and now the state is looking to spread the word.
Governor Gary Herbert declared May the official golf month for the state.
The announcement comes on the heels a new study that shows golf has an $800 million impact on the economy.
“By the way that's more than all the professional sports combined, so it's a significant impact,” Herbert said.
A new group called the Golf Alliance of Utah is tasked with spreading the word to locals and tourists.
“Whenever you talk to anyone who plays golf from out of state they say, ‘it's so good,’ and the second thing they say is, ‘it is so affordable.’ As the word gets out and the tourism department has done a great job of promoting all types of tourism. I think that will continuing to grow,” said Jeff Beaudry with PGA of America.
But industry leaders say the only way to grow the industry is to protect the land and resources.
Critics Utah’s many public golf courses say they overuse water, while the Golf Alliance points to the study and say its 120 courses use only 1 percent of total diverted water in the state.
“Golf uses less diverted water and has a higher revenue than all agricultural products together,” said David Terry golf director of Salt Lake City.
But it's Utah’s public golf courses that set Utah apart from other states. Golfers say it makes the game affordable for families and keeps tourists coming back for more.
“For public golf, for municipal golf I don't know if there is anywhere any better,” Beaudry said.