There’s no denying that golf has increased in popularity over the last 18 months. Don’t believe us? Well in a recent report published by The R&A and the European Golf Association (EGA), it states that there are now over 10.6 million people enjoying golf in Europe, a healthy increase from the 7.9 million last monitored in 2016.
Using research conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys, it 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 club members and independent golfers in each country to provide a measure of total golfers playing the sport.
Thanks to the in-depth research, it is now showing that a whopping 2.7 million extra people have taken up the game since 2016.
The breakdown of the total golfer community combined across Europe also reveals there are more independent golfers (59%) compared to those golfers registered as a member with their national federation (41%), highlighting the different ways golf is being played.
The research also shows that 73% of national federations in Europe recorded a growth in registration from 2019 to 2021, with the total number of registered golfers rising by more than 190,000 from 4.13 million to 4.32 million (a 4.6% growth).
One important factor is that new golfers are enjoying positive experiences of the sport, supported by a wide range of participation initiatives. The ability for golf to be played safely during the Covid-19 pandemic to boost mental and physical health for participants was also a big plus point.
Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, 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 health 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 played from country to country.”
Check out the other key findings in this fascinating report below.
- Markets that saw the greatest growth in registered golfers include England (up by 63,500) and Sweden (up by 54,589)
- A total of nine markets – largely among emerging golfing nations – saw growth in registered golfers of over 30%, with Latvia and Belarus achieving over 150% growth
- The markets with the highest proportion of total golfers in the population include Iceland (17.7%), Scotland (10.9%), England (8%) and Ireland (7.8%)
- Combined registered women golfers across Europe increased by 13,000 (to just over 1 million), with the proportion of registered golfers in Europe narrowly declining from 27% to 26%
- Germany (221,865), Sweden (129,949) and the Netherlands (125,537) are the top three markets for the number of registered women golfers
- Combined registered junior golfers across Europe increased by over 43,000 (to more than 350,000), with the proportion of registered golfers in Europe relatively stable at 8%
- Sweden (61,839), England (45,304) and Germany (41,212) are the top three markets for the number of registered junior golfers
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