Europe’s golf slide is stabilising, says study
A slight decline in the number of golfers in Ireland was revealed in the latest Golf Participation Report for Europe.
KPMG’S Golf Advisory Practice conducted a pan-european survey of golf associations and found a number of signs of stabilisation of the golf market.
The number of registered golfers showed a slight increase, by 2% (+82,584), while the supply of golf courses declined by 28 courses (24 openings and 52 closures). Almost half, 46%, of European countries surveyed experienced a growth in participation rates, 35% showed stability and in 19% of the countries surveyed demand declined. Men make up 67% of the total registered golfers across Europe in 2016, and the proportion of European population who actively played golf (0.9%) has not changed since 2015.
In Ireland, adult male golfers form 68% of the playing population, with adult women 20%, and juveniles 12% — a figure which is slightly worrying.
Commenting on the report, Deirdre O’connell, head of marketing services at Carr Golf, Ireland’s leading club management agency, said, “We welcome the ongoing stabilisation of the European golf market. While Ireland doesn’t top any tables and there isn’t anything too startling from the Irish figures, we have had a very slight decline in the number of golfers, termed as stable by the report, which sits against the norm of a slight increase in other countries. Our 4% participation rate remains one of the highest in Europe, in terms of the number of registered golfers.
“In total, in 2016 Ireland was down four golf courses nett. We were the second worst-hit country in Europe for closures, after Scotland which had 19. Yet we have multi-million euro capital investments in places like Hogs Head and Adare Manor, not to mention huge spends on staffing, infrastructure, and golf technologies, and Irish consumers are spending over €500m on golf annually. The green shoots are there, local golf club teams need to get ahead to reap rewards.”