Golfers in the United Kingdom spent £4.3 billion on their sport in 2014, accounting for 14% of all consumer spending on sport, and golf paid £990 million in taxes to the government.
More than half of consumer spending on golf, £2.2 billion, was channelled through the UK’s near 3,000 golf clubs, of which almost two-thirds are in England.
Golf equipment and clothing accounted for £939 million of consumer expenditure and golf related tourism, events and accommodation a further £775m.
The figure are contained in an independent report published this week by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC).
The report was funded by The R&A and the organisation’s Chief Executive, Martin Slumbers, said: “Golf is the first sport in the UK to evaluate its contribution to economic development in line with the government’s ‘Sporting Future’ strategy and these findings give us an important economic baseline for the golf industry against which we can measure future growth.
“There is plenty of room for optimism that golf can maintain and develop its position as one of the most popular sports in the UK, particularly in the year when it makes its return to the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Nick Pink, Chief Executive of England Golf, has welcomed the report and commented: “This demonstrates the economic value of golf for the UK and is very positive news for the game, proving that it is one of sport’s big players.
“It underlines the importance of our strategy to get more people playing more golf and joining clubs as members. What’s good for golf is good for the country and more players and more members will mean more people taking advantage of the sporting, social and health benefits of the game and making a direct contribution to the economy.”
The report highlights that the golf industry in the UK employs 74,480 people with a third employed directly by golf clubs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Golf’s Gross Value Added (GVA), the wages and profits measure of economic activity, is calculated at £2 billion or 7% of GVA attributed to all sport in the United Kingdom.
After accounting for indirect and induced economic impact effects, the turnover of the UK golf industry is estimated at £10.3 billion for 2014.
Professor Simon Shibli, the Head of SIRC and author of the report, said: “The positive physiological and mental health benefits of golf are already well understood. Golf is also remarkably valuable to the economy as our figures for consumer spending, GVA and employment demonstrate.”
The report provides an analysis of golf’s regular and occasional participation base, estimating there are 1.5 million adult golfers in the UK who play at least once every four weeks, including just over 1 million in England. In the UK as a whole it identifies 3.9 million adult golfers who play at least once a year, including 2.7 million in England.
The role of volunteering in UK golf is also highlighted in the SIRC report with an estimated 178,000 volunteers contributing 2.1million volunteer days, a benefit to the sport worth £137 million annually.
The report was launched at a reception in the Palace of Westminster hosted by the recently formed All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, chaired by Karl McCartney JP MP. The Group brings together Members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to support the sport of golf.
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