Europe’s golf slide is sta­bil­is­ing, says study

Irish Examiner - Sport - - GOLF -

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.”

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