British and Irish golf club members are continuing to quit the game in worrying numbers, according to a survey published Wednesday.
KPMG’s Golf Participation Report for Europe 2019 highlights a drop in registered golfers and golf club members in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales between 2017 and 2018 that should have alarm bells ringing for golf administrators, and those running British and Irish golf clubs.
Scotland saw a drop of 7,521 registered golfers, a 4% loss, between 2017-2018. There are now 180,281 golfers registered to Scottish golf clubs compared to 187,802 in 2017.
Wales experienced a 4.06% drop from 44,551 golf club members in 2017 compared to 42,743 last year.
England, the country with the most registered golfers in Europe, had a 1.63% drop. There were 645,151 registered golfers in 2018 against 655,839 in 2017.
Ireland remained largely static, with just a 0.58% decline. The Emerald Isle lost 1,063 registered golfers to take its participation rate to 182,398 in 2018.
The figures continue a worrying downward trend for all four nations over the last five years, especially in Scotland and Wales. Wales has experienced a 16.92% loss from the 51,445 registered golfers in 2014.
Scotland has seen a 14.07% decline. The Home of Golf had 209,812 registered players in 2014. England is down 9.43% from 712,390 players five years ago. Despite Ireland’s marginal loss between 2017 and 2018, it has experienced an 8.59% drop since 2014 when there were 199,550 golf club members.
In total, the four nations have lost 122,625 golf club members in five years, a 10.43% decline.
The KPMG report does not include golfers who do not belong to a golf club, or those who have quit their memberships but still play. However, the figures make grim reading for those trying to grow the game in Great Britain & Ireland.