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In 2019, golfers in the UK spent a total of £5.1 billion, the equivalent of £964 per golfer, a study has found.

The report from Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, that was funded by the R&A, shows spending in golf increased by 18% in real terms between 2014 and 2019.

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The golf industry’s Gross Value Added (GVA), the sport’s contribution to the UK economy, increased to £2.6 billion. The benefit of the sport to the accommodation and tourism industries (£412 million) and construction and real estate industries (£374 million) was also highlighted.

Membership fees were the largest spending output for golfers, with £1.4 billion spent on them alone. Equipment and clothing was a close second, with a total expenditure of £1 billion, while green fees (£526 million) and accommodation (£484 million) next in the list.

The study also found that the golf industry employs 63,826 full-time employees, with 19,914 of them employed by golf clubs. Golf tourism and accommodation accounted for 8,274, with golf equipment (7,591) and golf construction (4,994) making up the rest of the figure.

Golf tourism to the UK resulted in £338 million for the economy. In 2019, the 148th Open at Royal Portrush was the largest event held in Northern Ireland, which generated over £100 million for the host region.

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The growth in the sport over recent years is reflected by a 20% increase in consumer spending on golf in current prices, a real terms increase of 8% when inflation is taken into account.

Overall, golf was responsible for 10% of the £51 billion spent by consumers on sport in the UK.

The findings of the report are to be presented at an event in the Palace of Westminster today which is hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf. The Group brings together Members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to support the sport of golf.

author headshot

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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