Scotland leads strong UK golf industry

Golf tourism and major events in Scotland is vital to the future success of golf in the UK, according to a new report funded by The R&A.

Chief executive of Visit Scotland, Malcolm Roughead. Picture: Dan Phillips

The report, compiled by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, indicates that Scotland accounts for 20 per cent of added value to the UK economy from the golf industry, despite comprising just eight per cent of the population.

Scotland’s highly developed golf tourism and events offering, its worldwide reputation as Scotland, the Home of Golf and the country’s higher golf participation rate compared with the rest of the UK are cited as the key factors in Scotland’s strong overall performance within the UK golf industry.

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The report also concludes that the golf industry in Scotland grew significantly in the three years from 2011 to 2014. Increases in consumer spending, gross value added (GVA) and job creation during this period have been linked with the hosting of major events such as The Open and The 2014 Ryder Cup as well as investment in major golf resorts and a stronger economy.

Key findings from the report include:

* The number of jobs supported by the golf industry in Scotland has increased from 12,000* to almost 15,000 from 2011-2014

* Golf industry GVA in Scotland was £409m in 2014, and consumer spending on golf increased from £636m* to £861m from 2011-2014

* Scotland’s golf participation rates are 7 per cent for regular golfers and 17.5 per cent for occasional golfers compared with an average of 3 per cent and 7.4 per cent for the UK respectively

* Overall, golfers in the UK spend £4.3 billion per year, equating to 14 per cent of consumer spending on all sport

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “This report funded by The R&A shows the huge impact and influence that Scotland has in the golf industry not only in the UK but worldwide and the considerable value of the industry to Scotland’s economy.

“Scotland is undoubtedly the home of golf but it is also a country in which the game continues to thrive to this day. Golf in Scotland is an inclusive sport and that is reflected not only in the higher participation rates but in the sheer breadth of accessible golf courses across the country and the number of visitors flocking to Scotland to experience golf in the country where it began.

“The golf industry is a key driver for economic activity across a number of sectors including equipment, accommodation, food & drink and retail. It creates jobs and encourages spending and there is no doubt that Scotland’s strong golf tourism and major events portfolio is a significant factor in this success.”

*According to figures quoted in 2011 study into the value of golf by KPMG.