Golf continues to expand into all parts of the globe.
There are now golf facilities in 208 of the 245 countries in the world as of year‑end 2016, according to the second ‘Golf Around the World’ report that’s published by The R&A and based on research from the National Golf Foundation.
The brochure, first released in 2014, explores the game’s global reach in terms of the supply of both existing golf facilities and those in development.
The R&A released the report to its members around the world and uses the content on a daily basis, from conferences to presentations and speeches.
“There isn’t a day that goes past when we don’t use the brochure to answer a query, to help us make a point or to help us write a story,” said R&A Executive Director Duncan Weir. “And just in general in research when making a decision pertaining to golf around the world, it’s invaluable.”
The study found there are a total of 33,161 global golf facilities, but the sport remains geographically concentrated, with 74% of the world’s supply located in the top 10 golfing countries – the United States, Canada, Japan, England, Australia, Germany, France, Scotland, Sweden and South Africa.
The top 20 countries account for 89% of the global supply, but countries from Djibouti and Togo to Tajikistan and Christmas Island are all home to golf courses.
The US is the best‑supplied golf market in the world with 15,013 facilities – approximately 45% of the global supply – as indicated by the NGF’s most recent annual count.
Europe has the second‑largest regional share of golf facilities, with 22%, followed by Asia at 14% and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific) at 6%.
Asia is the most active region for new course development, with 176 golf course projects (measured by 18‑hole equivalents) either in planning or under construction.
Worldwide, there were a total of 556 new projects in various stages of development at the end of 2016, an indication of golf’s continued expansion.
Golf and tourism go hand‑in‑hand, with more than half of the new projects tied to resorts, from the Costa Jama Beach & Golf Resort in Ecuador to the Rees Jones‑designed Dazante Bay on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
Read more about golf’s impact on worldwide development and the global economy here, with details of the first golf course in Turkmenistan (a Jack Nicklaus design) and the booming growth in Vietnam, where 20 new courses are set to open in the next five years.
The R&A’s Golf Around the World report offers a comprehensive breakdown of the number of facilities by country, detailing how the game is being used both as an engine of sport and recreation as well as economic development, regional planning and community build out.
“There are many ways of measuring how many people play golf and sometimes it’s difficult to get consistency of measurement from one country to the next, but you cannot argue with something that’s on the ground – ie. the number of golf courses and golf facilities,” said Weir.
For more information, or to download a digital copy of the R&A’s Golf around the World report, please visit www.randa.org