50 Golf Inc. Summer 2014
GDP growth: .3% in past year; 2.8% forecast for 2020
GDP PP: $36,521
Population: 65.3 million
Tourism infrastructure: 27. 8 out of 30
Golf clubs in the United Kingdom are losing members and that does not bode well
for investment in golf’s mother country.
A survey by Sky Sports, which polled
254 clubs, determined that 70 percent
have lost members during the past five
years. The country’s 2,943 courses already
have one of the lowest number of avid
golfers per course, only 349.
Part of the problem may be aging demographics. The survey shows that the
dominant age group at more than 80 percent of the U.K.’s clubs consists of people
older than 50, while only 1 percent of the
clubs claim a membership dominated by
people between 31 and 40.
The country’s courses are grappling
with the same issue American courses
face: how to get the younger generations
onto the golf course.
“Even in a market like the United King-
dom, people should first learn to putt–
play,” said Ken Moodie, a Scottish golf
course architect, referring to what Ameri-
can’s call miniature golf. “They should
learn to pitch and putt before they swing
a golf club. And then move on to an inter-
Moodie does not expect much develop-
ment activity in the U.K. except for some
high-end courses and resorts that cater to
Scotland, after all, is launching a marketing campaign to woo more golf tourists. The country has always relied on golf
pilgrims to support its courses.
In coming years, it plans to pepper the
world with messages reminding golf-
ers Scotland is “the Home of Golf” and
a place that ought to be on every golfer’s
bucket list. The promotions are part of a
national initiative aimed at making Scot-
land the world’s top golf destination by
2020. Spain is currently No. 1.
The marketing campaign will be bolstered by three high-profile events: the
2014 Ryder Cup and the Open Championships of 2015 and 2016.
“The collaborative approach between
various organizations in pulling this strat-
egy together is exactly what Scotland’s
golf tourism sector requires,” said Tour-
ism Minister Fergus Ewing, “and demon-
strates that we are all working towards one
single aim: to make Scotland the must-
visit destination for every golfer.”
The campaign hopes to increase the
$349 million that golf currently contrib-
utes to the Scottish economy by 20 per-
cent, to roughly $476 million.
Trump International Golf Links, Scotland