The R&A - Working for Golf

UK golfers spend £4 billion a year on their sport and the golf industry pays £1 billion in tax

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 according to an independent report published today by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC).

More than half of consumer spending on golf, £2.2 billion, was channeled through the UK’s near 3,000 golf clubs. Golf equipment and clothing accounted for £939 million of consumer expenditure and golf related tourism, events and accommodation a further £775m.

The report (Download here), which was funded by The R&A, 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.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, 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.”

Professor Simon Shibli, the Head of SIRC and author of the report, said, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to produce a Satellite Account for golf on behalf of The R&A, as it is the first time that a sport-specific Satellite Account has been produced. 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. There are an estimated 1.5 million adult golfers in the UK who play at least once a week, almost twice the regular participation rate of tennis (825,343) or badminton (825,962), and 3.9 million adult golfers who play at least once a year.

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.

Picture Caption: "Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A,  Karl McCartney JP MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, and Professor Simon Shibli, Head of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, launch the new report.”

Download Report