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Golf Growing Fast in Emerging Markets

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The beautiful sport of golf is growing fast in emerging markets like China, Russia, India, South Korea and Brazil.

It is estimated that the worldwide golf industry is worth 1.4 billion Euros (approximately 1.93 billion US dollars), which includes golf products, licensed articles, infrastructure construction and live golf events and researches show that golf is really going global.

Golf infrastructure

As a result, you see the golf infrastructure in these countries rapidly expanding, while the investment in golf in the traditional countries slowed down considerably. For instance, in the United States in the Nineties, there were approximately 400 golf courses built each year. Nowadays, the amount of new golf courses in the USA comes close to 100. Even a country like Cuba is rapidly expanding with plans to open more than twelve gold courses over the next seven years.

Golf in China

One of the most interesting markets is China. A report from professional services organization KMPG shows very interesting potential for the sport in China: if only 0.1% of the Chinese population would play golf by 2013, then the country would have more than 1.3 million golf players and could mean the construction of more than 1,700 Chinese golf courses.

During the last ten years, the amount of courses in China already tripled. In comparision: the participation rate in the game of golf in North America and Europe is much higher than the above-mentioned 0.1%, so the 1,700 golf courses could even be considered a conservative estimate of KPMG.

According to other reports, it is only a matter of time before the golf sport will have a big Chinese golf star.

In a number of countries, like for instance Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates, high quality golf courses are being developed as part of a focused tourism strategy. Sustainability is often high on the agenda, in an effort to reduce the impact of maintaining the golf course, on the area.


Golf players have nowadays a fitter and younger image, which will also attract a new and younger audience, while women are also increasingly participating in golf. Since the sport is readmitted to the Olympic Games of 2016 in Brazil, it is expected that this event will be an accelerator for the popularity of golf around the world.

(Sources: Business Life, KPMG, ATKearney, HSBC)


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