Golf participation sees slight decrease

Golf participation sees slight decrease
By Sean Dudley

The European golf market has recorded its first period of downturn in numbers of players since 2011, thanks in part to the economic crisis and a change in golf patterns, according the latest publication from KPMG. However the outlook across the industry is not wholly negative, with other areas experiencing significant growth.

Up to the end of 2010, the number of registered players experienced an increase of five per cent annually, followed by a downturn in 2011 and 2012 with a decrease of 1.1 percent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

Despite this, the report found that since the mid-1980s, the golf market in Europe has seen steady growth in both demand and supply, and the number of golfers has tripled in the last 28 years. At the beginning of 2013, there were still 4.4 million registered players in Europe.This doesn’t include the number of ‘casual golfers’ that play the game on a green-fee basis. In fact, some countries have seen a shift away from club membership in favour of casual play.

Some of Europe’s most established golf markets have registered a significant increase in the number of players in 2013 , with Germany seeing an increase of 10,500, the Netherlands of 6,900 and France of 4,400. Among the emerging golf markets, the biggest growth in demand can be seen in Lithuania with nearly 50 per cent, Bulgaria (42 percent) and Serbia (41 per cent).

Overall, the number of golf courses in Europe has grown annually by three per cent since 1985, resulting in over 6,800 new courses in 28 years. Despite this, some countries, including the UK, Ireland and Spain have seen an increased number of facility closures in recent times.

Male golfers continue to dominate Europe’s golf market, representing on average 63 per cent of all registered players on the market, while women represent 23 per cent and junior golfers represent 14 per cent.

To access the full report, visit the KPMG Golf Business Community website.

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