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The number of registered golfers in Scotland has fallen yet again according to the latest KPMG Golf Participation Report for Europe.

It shows that the number of registered golfers in the home of golf fell by 4% between 2017 and 2018. There were 180,281 registered players in Scotland last year as compared with 187,802 in 2017 – a drop of more than 7,500.

Scotland now lags behind England, Germany, Sweden and France, as well as the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland in this regard.

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Of the countries in Europe with a minimum of 50 courses, only Wales has endured a bigger rate of attrition, and even then only marginally so (4.06% decline). The decline in registered golfers in Scotland is also considerably greater than the European average (0.59 decline). Scotland accounts for 30.8% of all the registered golfers Europe lost between 2017 and 2018.

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Only England (10,688) lost more registered golfers than Scotland, although that represented just a 1.63% drop on its 2017 total.

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On the positive side, golf participation rates in Scotland grew by 3.32% between 2017 and 2018 – significantly greater than the European average (0.48%). Only Iceland (4.81%), Sweden (4.61%) and Ireland (3.8%) fared better in this sense.

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The report also showed that Scotland continues to have one of the highest ratios of golfers per golf courses, with 322 golfers per course. Only Wales (297), Iceland (277) and Portugal (201) have a higher ratio

Per head of population, only Iceland has a higher ratio (5,759 per course) than Scotland (9,657).

The same KPMG report in 2017 showed the number of registered golfers in Scotland fell by more than 6,000 between 2015 to 2016 – down from 199,244 in 2015.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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