For the first time, the R&A has published a new report detailing the precise number of golf facilities worldwide - produced by the National Golf Foundation (NGF), a golf market research organisation based in the USA.
The unprecedented report sets out the extent of golf’s development worldwide. It reveals that, by the end of 2014, there were 34,011 golf facilities in 206 countries around the world. It shows that 79% of these facilities are located in ten countries: the USA, Japan, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, France, Scotland, South Africa and Sweden.
Although the USA is home to 45% of the world’s golf facilities and Europe to 22%, the report also states that there are 50 countries with only one golf facility compared to 30 with more than 100 and eight (outside the USA) with more than 500.
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A said, “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. It will provide a benchmark for future monitoring and enable us to identify areas of potential growth. The NGF has done an excellent job in conducting this research which we believe will be extremely useful for the golf industry at large.”
The report tracks the development of golf worldwide and finds that 696 golf courses are under construction or in advance planning. While 80% of these new projects are in Asia, Europe and North America, there are clear signs the sport is spreading with countries such as Belarus, Azerbaijan and Georgia opening their first golf courses in the last two years and initial courses under construction in countries as diverse as Macedonia and Sao Tome and Principe.
The R&A has provided funding for the creation of the definitive worldwide database and report which provides a benchmark for measuring the extent of golf’s global footprint. The NGF team spent four years and 25,000 working hours surveying golf facilities around the world using global information sources, satellite/mapping imagery and on-the-ground contacts.
The report will be produced biennially and will allow monitoring of the sport’s development in future years.