There are 3,297 golf clubs in the British Isles

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 12, 2015 11:42

An unprecedented report into the global golf industry that took 25,000 hours to compile has found that there are 3,297 golf clubs in the British Isles.

The R&A’s Golf around the world 2015 is the first ever official count into all the golf courses in the world, concluding that there 34,011 golf facilities in 206 countries. This means there are only 33 countries in the world that do not have a golf course on them, and even Antartica has one. Nearly four in five of all the golf courses in the world are located in just ten countries, with almost half (15,372) being in the USA alone, a figure that has dropped by several hundred in recent years.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Practice Round

The R&A’s outgoing CEO Peter Dawson


The report does not give figures for the UK but instead splits the country up by its golf unions, England has the highest number of golf facilities in Europe with 2,084, making it the fourth biggest golfing nation in the world behind the USA, Japan (2,383) and Canada (2,363). However, as Scotland has 552 facilities and Wales 189, the UK is the world’s second biggest golfing country. Ireland collectively has 472 facilities, more than Spain’s 437, but less than Sweden’s 491, France’s 648 and Germany’s 747.

Other major golfing countries are Australia with 1,628 facilities, South Africa with 512, China with 473, New Zealand with 418 and Argentina with 319.

The report also found that golf is growing in Asia, where 207 new courses are under construction. In addition, the sport is reaching parts of the world where golf has not been present before. Last year, for example, Georgia opened its first course while the game is also just about to be introduced in Macedonia and Sao Tome and Principe, a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa.

“The new report provides a fascinating insight in to the development of golf around the world and gives us a precise measure of the number of facilities for the first time,” said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson. “It will provide a benchmark for future monitoring and enable us to identify areas of potential growth.”

In looking at development of the game, the report found that trend in Europe is towards ‘short compact courses that are public and family friendly’. In many cases, those courses comprise of just six holes. There are already close to 300 of those in Europe with five more under construction along with close to 70 nine-holers.

While the report describes Africa as a ‘burgeoning golf destination’, it’s Asia that has been designated as the continent that has ‘room for golf to grow’.

“The National Golf Foundation [a golf market research organisation based in the USA] has done an excellent job in conducting this research, which we believe will be extremely useful for the golf industry at large,” added Dawson.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 12, 2015 11:42
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