World Golf

From tee to green | The state of play in golf today

World Golf

Golf today is a sport that transcends entertainment, lifestyle, health and community. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that is experiencing some of its most tumultuous times.

A beacon in these difficult times, professional golf is arguably at its zenith; a new generation of players with diverse personalities are congregating at the top of leaderboards around the world, providing an enticing new dynamic for fans, broadcasters and sponsors.

Golf fans are now able to watch these rivalries develop in new ways, as the major tours and broadcasters deploy new technologies and platforms to meet the demands of a social and digital age. Tournaments, sponsors and players, meanwhile, are increasingly building a platform in social media as a way to engage with fans and promote themselves.

HSBC Golf Business Forum 2015 Wrap up

World Golf

Geographically, too, changes are afoot. The traditional heartlands of golf, North America and Europe, remain at the top of the rankings in terms of viewers, interest and, at mass participation level, even number of golf courses, but other markets, primarily Asia, are joining the party. The growth of the game in the emerging markets highlights the global context of golf, particularly the professional game. For a long time, The European Tour has pioneered these regions and has built a global framework that has delivered new fans and revenues.

Despite all these positives the underlying challenges for golf, declining play and associated consumption, remain. The 2016 Olympics will put golf back into a very historical sporting context, but it is no quick fix. The traditional confines of golf will need to be challenged from within to create an openness to change; a concerted effort to engage former and future players in an innovative way is the pathway to growth.

Paul Smith Founder and CEO, Repucom

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Golf fans

The average age of the golf fan differs significantly by market, as the selected list below shows. While established golf markets such as Canada, the UK and the USA each have a fan average age of above 40, the other end of the spectrum features a cluster of growing and developing golf markets – the average age of the golf fan in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, two growing markets is below 35. This demonstrates that in new golf markets the sport is attracting a younger audience.

Average age of golf fans by market

South Korea: 45.7 years
Canada: 44.8 years
Japan: 43.6 years
UK: 41.7 years
USA: 40.5 years
Australia: 39.9 years
Austria: 39.4 years
Spain: 39.4 years
Italy: 38.9 years
Singapore: 38.3 years

Media used for sports information (%)

mobile devices - average person: 65
mobile devices - golf fan: 87

internet- average person: 79
internet- golf fan: 95

email newsletter - average person: 53
email newsletter - golf fan: 81

social media - average person: 66
social media - golf fan: 85