Golf Business

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NEW YORK - The U-S Open is a hot topic in sports circles this week, but golf stocks are a bit less popular on Wall Street. Though stars like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have earned millions from the game, publicly traded golf firms and their shareholders have had a much tougher time making a profit.

With the high cost of greens fees, it would seem there's a killing to be made in running a golf course. But maintenance means substantial overhead. Golf Trust of America Incorporated, which once operated 47 courses, has been in liquidation since 2001. And its stock, which rose above 35-dollars in 1998, now lists for less than two dollars per share.

John Moran, a research analyst who follows the equipment maker
Callaway, says there's hope for the coming decades. He says there's
two big constraints on the growth of golf -- disposable income and
free time. And as baby boomers head to retirement, they should have
plenty of both.