Consumer spending on golf in the Republic of Ireland alone is now worth €379m million annually, according to a new report commissioned by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) and The R&A.
The report, ‘A Satellite Account for Golf in the Republic of Ireland’ * was conducted to evaluate golf’s economic value to the Republic of Ireland and found that the top three elements of this consumer spending are €94 million on club membership fees, €46 million on food and beverage in clubs and €39 million on golf equipment.
A similar report was published in 2016, which detailed the contribution golf made to the economy of the United Kingdom. Today’s report considers the impact of golf in the Republic of Ireland. These figures when taken in conjunction with the previous findings, provide an overall figure for the island of Ireland.
Carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, the research also shows that 9,030 people are directly employed within the golf sector on the island of Ireland, with 6,800 of these in the Republic. Golf clubs are the most significant employers (34%), followed by the golf equipment and sportswear sectors (13%) and the tourism and accommodation industries (11%).
These employment levels equate to the golf industry being responsible for 0.3% of total employment in the Republic of Ireland – the equivalent of one in 300 jobs.
Meanwhile, the Gross Value Added ** (GVA) of the golf industry in the Republic of Ireland was €202 million, which equates to 0.1% of the entire Irish economy. The major contributors to golf’s GVA are the activities of golf clubs, including food and beverage operations and recreational golf, at €89m (44%).
The GVA analysis also highlights golf’s important association with the golf equipment, clothing and footwear sectors (€21m), tourism and accommodation in golf resorts (€25m) and the construction and real estate industries (€15m).
There are 281,000 adult golfers in the Republic of Ireland (103,000 in Northern Ireland), of whom 160,000 play the sport at least once every four weeks. Figures show that the golf participation rates in the Republic of Ireland are higher than the UK as a whole, with 7.9% of the Irish population participating in golf on an annual basis compared with a 7.4% participation rate in the UK.
A Satellite Account for Golf in the Republic of Ireland’ also found that:
- Based on a combination of the participation and club membership data, it can be concluded that 4.7% of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland are members of a golf club. This is nearly one in every 20 adults, and compares favourably with England where the corresponding figure is close to one in 100 adults
- Consumer spend per adult golfer in the Republic of Ireland reaches an average of €1,350 per annum
- Golf is responsible for 0.4% of the Republic of Ireland’s total consumer spending and 17% of consumer spending on sport
- Golf contributes €93 million to the public sector in corporation tax and VAT. Given the size of the golf economy and the relatively low corporation tax rate, this is a significant contribution to public finances
Statistical Analysis of Participation
A report, commissioned by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) and undertaken by Dr. Pete Lunn and Dr. Elish Kelly of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), was launched today and provides new evidence relating to the level of participation in golf in Ireland and the factors that underpin it.
The analysis assesses patterns of participation in golf over time, as well as exploring people’s motivation and patterns of playing. The report examines both active participation in golf, i.e. physically playing the game, and social participation in the form of club membership and attendance at events.
Golf is one of the most popular sport and exercise activities in Ireland, and is highly unusual among sporting activities in appealing more to older people. The highest participation rates are for those in their 60s and 70s. Increasing numbers of older people in Ireland play golf, but the game has become less popular among younger people, the research finds.
The physical activity provided by golf is likely to be highly beneficial. International evidence suggests, that among older people, golfers are stronger, have better balance and live longer than equivalent non-golfers. Among Irish golfers, physical and mental wellbeing, alongside socialising and improving performance, are common motivations for playing.
However, while participation in golf increased in the latter decades of the twentieth century, it has since begun to decline. This fall-off is caused by fewer people aged under 55 playing the game. This trend is occurring in other countries and pre-dates Ireland’s economic crisis. It is possibly linked to changing patterns of family and working life. The report notes, however, that demographic trends imply increasing numbers of middle-aged and older adults in Ireland over coming decades, which will help to maintain high participation in golf.
Other findings include: a stronger increase in participation among women than men; greater participation among those with higher educational attainment and income; higher participation in Dublin, the rest of Leinster and urban areas.
The study discusses the policy implications of the findings, including how golf clubs might market themselves more to families and younger adults who are aiming to fit physical activities around work and family commitments.
Golf-in-Ireland-FINAL-ONLINE-VERSION” class=”button”>Golf in Ireland: Statistical Analysis of Participation