Germany on verge of having more members of golf clubs than England

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 21, 2016 13:03

Germany is on the verge of having more members of golf clubs than England for the first time in history according to major new research by professional services firm KPMG.

The milestone could be achieved within the next two years and has been driven by female golfers – 35 percent of golf club members in Germany in 2015 were adult women. In England the figure was just 14 percent.

England now has just 21,000 more members of golf clubs than Germany and in the last year the gap closed by nearly 18,000.

In total England has 661,805 members of golf clubs according to KPMG, a figure that has been dropping every year for several years. Between 2014 and 2015 England lost 16,567 members. In contrast, in Germany, the country now has 640,181 registered golfers, a figure that has been rising steadily over many years. Between 2014 and 2015 it grew by 1,044.

The closing of the gap between the two countries is all the more remarkable given that England had 1,923 golf courses in 2015. Germany had just 727.


KPMG also found that in 2015 Scotland had 199,244 members across 597 golf clubs, Ireland 192,507 across 418 golf courses and Wales 46,980 across 182 venues.

This means the British Isles has just over 1.1 million golf club members and 3,120 golf clubs.

overall participation in europe

KPMG’s Europe-wide research shows that countries where clubs are seen to be family-friendly are performing well at the moment. Sweden, for example, is now comfortably Europe’s third biggest market for golf with nearly half a million registered golfers and a rise of almost five percent in one year, despite having 150 fewer golf clubs than Scotland.

development of golf

“According to the survey, which is based upon statistics compiled from local golf associations in 46 European countries, the continent’s golf markets are displaying positive signs of stability and growth in 2015,” said a KPMG spokesman.

“In fact, when taking a closer look at Europe’s golf markets, 67 percent of local golf associations indicated in 2015 that their level of participation had either stabilised or increased. The remaining 33 percent of European markets still experienced some decline, including key markets such as England, Spain and Ireland.

participation rates

“Overall, the study identified that golf participation in Europe has begun a period of stabilisation since the declines it suffered following 2009 during the global financial crisis.

“In terms of supply of golf courses in Europe, there were 7,097 affiliated facilities in 2015, which increased by over 18 facilities year-on-year since 2014.


“As seen earlier, the European golfing family continues to be dominated by male golfers, who, in 2015, represented an estimated 66 percent of all European golfers. Female and junior golfer participation was yet again disappointing in 2015, at approximately 25 and nine percent of all registered golfers, respectively.

“Among the numerous initiatives implemented by local associations, the most common growth initiatives were greater incentives for higher handicap players, golf course adaptations, improving the social experience of golf and junior development programmes.”



Commenting on the report, Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s global head of sport, said: “Hopefully, what we have observed in some markets is a continuance of meaningful development in the sport as well as a boost to its reputation as a positive contributor, not least to the financial stability of clubs, too.”

country distribution

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 21, 2016 13:03
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