KPMG report paints gloomy portrait of Euro golf
Monday, March 14, 2011
Golf in the British Isles and Europe is in trouble, according to a new report.
A new survey by KPMG makes bad reading for the game in Europe and confirms what most have suspected for some time – the game is not in a healthy state.
The KPMG Golf Benchmark Survey canvassed the views of 350 clubs across Europe and the Middle East and came to some stark conclusions. Rounds and revenues were down for the calendar year. Less than half of all golf facilities made a profit, and many were up for sale.
Among the notable findings are:
• Among the survey respondents, 43 percent reported a drop in the number of rounds played, and 44 percent said their revenues fell.
• Less than half (49 percent) were profitable, and a quarter posted an operating loss.
• Courses in Eastern Europe performed poorly (33 percent suffered a loss) while those in Middle East & North Africa fared well (73 percent reported ‘good’ results).
• Some 65 percent of golf facilities have cut costs – with 45 percent reducing staff.
• Nearly a fifth (18 percent) have reduced or withdrawn joining fees.
• Golf course owners in the region’s largest market, Great Britain and Ireland, are the most pessimistic about future prospects with only 44 percent predicting better business performance in 2011 and 15 percent predicting a downturn in performance.
• One in 12 owners are considering selling their facility.
More than half of those surveyed do not expect to reach the same performance level as before the economic crisis until 2013. Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice, acknowledged that golf courses have been “active” in their efforts to boost profits.
“For some this will have improved their performance or mitigated the ongoing effects of the economic downturn,” he said, but added: “However, it is clear from the number of loss-making golf facilities that market forces continue to impact on the performance of courses.
KPMG plans to address how course golf course operators can better address these economic challenges at its upcoming Golf Business Forum in Dubai in April.
If anyone still doubted the ill health of British golf, in particular, and European golf, in general, then this report should serve as a wake-up call.
It’s time for drastic action to resuscitate golf.