Key findings of the report include:
- After more than 20 years of growth, Europe’s golf market experienced the first decline in golf participation, with a net loss of 46,000 registered players in 2011.
- Nine countries experienced a decline in the number of registered golfers, but the most significant falls were in three large golf markets: UK & Ireland -42,700 (-3.1%), where the number of golfers has been falling since 2007, Sweden -21,000 (-4.1%) and Spain -9,700 (-2.9%).
- Some countries have counterbalanced Europe’s overall decline in golf participation: Germany +10,800 (1.8%), the Netherlands +7,600 (2.2%), Finland +4,600 (3.6%) and Eastern Europe’s most established golf market, the Czech Republic +3,500 (7.6%).
- Despite their potential, the growth in demand for golf in Eastern European countries was insignificant, in absolute terms, in 2011.
- German-speaking countries1 and the Netherlands, remain flagship markets for female participation, with more than 30% of players being women. Female participation is also high in these countries in absolute terms, providing a total of 430,000 women golfers (40% of the total in Europe).
- Some emerging markets encourage golf participation through junior programmes, which is reflected in the notably high share of junior golfers in some countries (e.g. Turkey, Serbia, Greece). While in absolute terms this represents only a few thousand young players, this is a potentially important factor in the future development of the game in these countries.
- No countries experienced a significant growth in golf supply, but some new courses opened in Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Poland, for example.