New report highlights golf growth in Europe

A new research report has shown that golf participation is on the rise in Europe with over 10 million golfers now enjoying the sport.

The number of women and junior golfers playing the sport has remained largely stable over the last two years. Picture: Charles McQuillan/R&A/R&A via Getty Images.
The number of women and junior golfers playing the sport has remained largely stable over the last two years. Picture: Charles McQuillan/R&A/R&A via Getty Images.

The second edition of the European Golf Participation Report, published by the R&A and the European Golf Association (EGA) using research conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys, presents a more representative view of everyone who plays golf on a full-length course (9 or 18 holes).

The report combines the number of registered golf club members and non-club member independent golfers in each country to provide a measure of total golfers playing the sport.

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The new data shows that there are over 10.6 million golfers now enjoying playing golf in Europe, a healthy increase from the 7.9 million last monitored for 2016.

The breakdown of the total golfer community combined across Europe also reveals there are more independent golfers (59 per cent) compared to those golfers registered as a member with their national federation (41 per cent), highlighting the different ways golf is being played.

The research also shows that 73 per cent of national federations in Europe recorded growth in registered golfers from 2019 to 2021, with the total of registered golfers rising by more than 190,000 from 4.13 million to 4.32 million - a 4.6 per cent growth.

Phil Anderton, the R&A’s chief development officer, said: “An overall rise in golf participation is always encouraging and with over 10.6 million golfers now enjoying the sport on full-length courses across Europe, it is clear to see that a wide range of initiatives are having a positive impact and that golfers are enjoying the healthy benefits the sport provides.

“We believe that counting independent golfers together with those who are registered as club members gives a more accurate view of the total number of golfers playing on a full-length course each year and reflects how the sport is being consumed from country to country.”

The report, published every two years, includes data collected from the EGA’s 49 national member federations, with this year’s edition comparing participation trends to pre-Covid-19 levels from 2019.

The number of women and junior golfers playing the sport has remained largely stable over the last two years, highlighting the opportunity for growth in these consumer markets.

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