New Report Shows Golf Participation In Europe Has Risen To Over 10 Million

A new research report has shown that golf participation is on the rise in Europe with over 10 million golfers now enjoying the sport.

Golf Participation Increase
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's no denying that golf has increased in popularity over the last 18 months. Don't believe us? Well in a recent report published by The R&A and the European Golf Association (EGA), it states that there are now over 10.6 million people enjoying golf in Europe, a healthy increase from the 7.9 million last monitored in 2016.

Using research conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys, it presents a more representative view of everyone who plays golf on a full-length course (9 or 18 holes). The report combines the number of registered club members and independent golfers in each country to provide a measure of total golfers playing the sport.

Thanks to the in-depth research, it is now showing that a whopping 2.7 million extra people have taken up the game since 2016.

Golf Participation Increase

England now has over 4.5 million total golfers.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The breakdown of the total golfer community combined across Europe also reveals there are more independent golfers (59%) compared to those golfers registered as a member with their national federation (41%), highlighting the different ways golf is being played.

The research also shows that 73% of national federations in Europe recorded a growth in registration from 2019 to 2021, with the total number of registered golfers rising by more than 190,000 from 4.13 million to 4.32 million (a 4.6% growth).

One important factor is that new golfers are enjoying positive experiences of the sport, supported by a wide range of participation initiatives. The ability for golf to be played safely during the Covid-19 pandemic to boost mental and physical health for participants was also a big plus point.

Golf Participation Increase

Golf has almost benefitted during the pandemic.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “An overall rise in golf participation is always encouraging and, with over 10.6 million golfers now enjoying the sport on full-length courses across Europe, it is clear to see that a wide range of initiatives are having a positive impact and that golfers are enjoying the health benefits the sport provides.

“We believe that counting independent golfers, together with those who are registered as club members, gives a more accurate view of the total number of golfers playing on a full-length course each year and reflects how the sport is being played from country to country.”

Check out the other key findings in this fascinating report below.

  • Markets that saw the greatest growth in registered golfers include England (up by 63,500) and Sweden (up by 54,589)
  • A total of nine markets – largely among emerging golfing nations – saw growth in registered golfers of over 30%, with Latvia and Belarus achieving over 150% growth
  • The markets with the highest proportion of total golfers in the population include Iceland (17.7%), Scotland (10.9%), England (8%) and Ireland (7.8%)
  • Combined registered women golfers across Europe increased by 13,000 (to just over 1 million), with the proportion of registered golfers in Europe narrowly declining from 27% to 26%
  • Germany (221,865), Sweden (129,949) and the Netherlands (125,537) are the top three markets for the number of registered women golfers
  • Combined registered junior golfers across Europe increased by over 43,000 (to more than 350,000), with the proportion of registered golfers in Europe relatively stable at 8%
  • Sweden (61,839), England (45,304) and Germany (41,212) are the top three markets for the number of registered junior golfers
Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.