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Small Businesses Have Ace in the Hole in Golf

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Watching this year's U.S. Open might not be as exciting without Tiger Woods, but small businesses still have plenty piquing their interest. There's a lot to take advantage of when it comes to the golf industry.

For instance, have you ever thought of how the greens stay so green? Or who actually makes those trophies? What about golf clubs? Credit small business.

To be fair, the roughly $80 billion-a-year industry -- at least in 2005, the most recent year for which figures were available -- suffered through the recession. Consumers had less disposable income to spend on play and equipment, which meant manufacturers, retailers and golf course owners and operators took a beating.

The industry seems to be in a turnaround. Some retailers say they are experiencing more foot traffic and increased sales.

For Ronnie Musselwhite, editor-in-chief of Golf Business magazine, the trend still clouding the industry is how to attract and retain more -- and younger -- players.

"Whether it's building shorter courses, offering nontraditional rounds of three, six or nine holes, taking golf to kids in schools, supporting efforts like Flogton, or just promoting the fact that the game can and should be about having fun, owners and operators are slowly coming to realize that the game needs to evolve," Musselwhite says.

He believes the industry needs to cater to broader demographics rather than "spending all of its efforts and resources trying to squeeze more out of the same ones they always have," he says.

Here are three golf-focused businesses doing well already and poised to grow with the sport:
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