It has now been 5 years since the economic crisis unfolded in late 2008, which clearly had a significant impact on the golf market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMA region). The Research Team at KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice has been monitoring performance trends in the region on an annual basis during this period. Although 2011 has shown some signs of recovery, our analysis suggests that 2012 was a tough year again for many operators, especially in Great Britain and Ireland, the lion’s share of supply.

This report summarizes the findings of a survey among golf course owners and operators in the EMA region regarding their business performance in 2012. We have reviewed course utilization, pricing, operating costs and profitability. Furthermore, we asked operators about the measures they have taken to improve performance, as well as their expectations for the years to come. Some of the more notable findings include:

  • Over a third of golf facilities reported a drop in rounds and revenues in 2012, which is significantly more than in 2011, when less than 20% reported a decrease;
  • Once again, courses in the Middle East remain the strongest performers in EMA, while Eastern European courses remain the weakest;
  • It appears that more and more operators are realizing the need of taking active steps to improve profitability. More than 90% of our respondents have taken specific measures to increase performance – specifically, 66% of all respondents have cut costs, and 37% cut staff;
  • Green fees were increased at 53% of the surveyed facilities, typically by 5-10%, and annual membership fees at 61% of the courses, usually by only 5% or less. Joining fees remained the same at most facilities.
  • One in every seven golf course owners is considering selling their facility, more than in any of our past surveys. Yet about half of golf course owners intended to make capital investments in 2013.

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