Europe's largest golf market, the UK & Ireland, sees a 4% reduction in the number of golfers - KPMG's new Golf Participation in Europe 2010 survey reveals
(Budapest, Hungary - November 19th, 2010) KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice today publishes its Golf Participation in Europe 2010 survey, which highlights significant demand and supply changes in the European golf market, headlined by last year's 4% decrease in the number of players in the UK and Ireland.
The survey reveals Europe's golf market as a whole has experienced significant growth in both demand and supply since the 1980s and the number of golfers has more than tripled in the last 25 years, with golf course supply doubling in the same period.
However, across Europe, while the number of registered players grew by 5% annually until 2005, KPMG's research suggests that since then, demand growth has slowed down in the second half of the decade to 1-2% per year, and the current global economic pressures affecting many European countries have taken their toll,with nine countries suffering a decrease in participation over the past 12 months.
Andrea Sartori, head ofKPMG's Golf Advisory Practice in EMA, said: "The recent economic downturn has left its mark on many countries across Europe. However, the golf market still has space for development with only a few showing mature levels of both demand and supply.
"Increased media attention, driven by events such as The Ryder Cup, and a new breed of successful youngTour players, supported by the inclusion of golf in the Olympics, are all important and positive motivators for people to take up the game.
"What is clear from our report findings is that there is still a very strong need for governments, tourism bodies, federations and associations to join forces to create structured programs to encourage families, youngsters and the female population to take up the game."
The report also recommends the need for more playable courses, 6- and 9-hole developments, which will comfortably sit alongside championship-length courses to encourage new entrants to the game and offer affordable, accessible family-friendly services.
Turkey is highlighted as one of Europe's success stories where a 'Junior Golf League' initiative has proved so popular over the past three years that more than 3,000 additional juniors have been registered. The country now boasts a growing golf population, 51% of which are juniors.
The Czech Republic, despite having the most developed golf market in Eastern Europe, has also experienced an impressive 650% growth in the last 10 years, which was significant in absolute terms: almost 40,000 new golfers have been registered in the country.
Other highlights from the Golf Participation in Europe 2010 survey, include:
• From 2000 - 2010, the number of golfers in England and Wales decreased (-63,800 and -14,500 respectively).
• In absolute terms, the leading countries in golf participation growth were Germany (+254,000 = 74% growth), the Netherlands (+204,000 = 146% growth) and Spain (+187,000 = 124% growth).
• From the emerging Eastern European countries, Slovakia shows a significant growth in local demand, from 921 to 6,000 golfers between 2000 and 2010.
Andrea Sartori, added: "Our survey shows there are still areas in Europe where significant steps could be taken to grow the game. However, as our findings also suggest, with decreasing participation levels in many countries in recent years, it is an obvious sign for golf course owners that the sport should no longer be a game of the elite."
The Golf Participation in Europe 2010 survey is available to download from: www.golfbusinesscommunity.com