There are almost as many UK golfers as tennis and badminton players combined

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams May 16, 2016 12:36

A report on golf’s value to the UK’s economy has found that despite recent falls in participation there are almost as many regular golfers in the UK than tennis and badminton players combined.

The independent report published by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) and funded by The R&A has found that there are an estimated 1.5 million adult golfers in the UK who play at least once a week. This is almost twice the regular participation rate of tennis (825,343) and badminton (825,962). Furthermore, there are 3.9 million adult golfers who play at least once a year.


The report also found that consumers spent £2.2 billion at the UK’s more than 2,500 clubs, and that golf clubs employed about 25,000 people, an average of about 10 per venue, in 2014, the year the data was studied.

This means the average UK golf club received £880,000 in income throughout the year.

In total, UK golfers spent £4.3 billion on their sport in 2014, accounting for 14 percent of all consumer spending on sport, the industry collectively employs 74,480 people and golf paid £990 million in taxes to the government.

Golf equipment and clothing accounted for £939 million of consumer expenditure and golf related tourism, events and accommodation a further £775 million.

Golf’s Gross Value Added (GVA), the wages and profits measure of economic activity, is calculated at £2 billion or seven percent of GVA attributed to all sport in the United Kingdom.

After accounting for indirect and induced economic impact effects, the turnover of the UK golf industry is estimated at £10.3 billion for 2014.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said, “Golf is the first sport in the UK to evaluate its contribution to economic development in line with the government’s ‘Sporting Future’ strategy and these findings give us an important economic baseline for the golf industry against which we can measure future growth.

“There is plenty of room for optimism that golf can maintain and develop its position as one of the most popular sports in the UK, particularly in the year when it makes its return to the Olympic Games in Rio.”

Professor Simon Shibli, the Head of SIRC and author of the report, said, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to produce a satellite account for golf on behalf of The R&A, as it is the first time that a sport-specific satellite account has been produced. The positive physiological and mental health benefits of golf are already well understood. Golf is also remarkably valuable to the economy as our figures for consumer spending, GVA and employment demonstrate.”

The role of volunteering in UK golf is also highlighted in the SIRC report with an estimated 178,000 volunteers contributing 2.1 million volunteer days, a benefit to the sport worth £137 million annually.


Emma Williams
By Emma Williams May 16, 2016 12:36
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1 Comment

  1. Craig July 24, 08:24

    Why then does the BBC provide three weeks of tennis, sometimes on two channels concurrently, and only highlights of three days of “the open” golf, and even then the result was announced on BBC radio before the highlights of the final game started on BBC TV.

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