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Golf Economy Is Worth 53 Billion Euros Overseas


Golf is a multi-billion-euro enterprise worth more than 50 billion a year in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to a study by KPMG Golf Advisory Practice. The results were launched Wednesday at Valhalla Golf Club, site of the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Nine leading golf bodies joined with KPMG to publish the report that reveals the sport in the EMA region generates total revenues of 53 billion euros, supports almost half a million jobs and pays nearly 10 billion euros in wages.

In GDP terms (the value of the industry once its costs are subtracted), the game contributes as much to the economy in a single year as the last six Olympic Games combined (prior to Beijing 2008) - 14.5 billion euros.

And while golf in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) region is about one-third the size of the U.S. golf industry, it is growing fast, especially in the areas of golf tourism and golf real estate. According to KPMG's research, these key sectors now account for almost half the game's total revenue. Real estate is the number-one money earner, bringing in almost 19 billion euros, which outstrips the total on-course cash (green fees, memberships, etc).

The report reveals that in Europe alone, the number of courses and players has doubled since 1985, whereas in the U.S., the number of courses and players has leveled off since 2000.

"This is the first time this kind of research has been done on this side of the Atlantic," says Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice EMA, who initiated the study. "While our report shows that golf in the EMA region is still smaller than America, the game is booming here, especially golf tourism and real estate. Golf courses are increasingly being used to support quality residential developments across EMA, and several countries, especially in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, are capitalizing on the benefits that golf tourism can bring to their economies. These figures also reflect the near-global growth of the European Tour."

Titled "The Value of Golf to Europe, the Middle East and Africa," the study was produced in association with Oxford Economics. It uses the most recent full-year statistics (2006) to calculate the value of the game by combining six industry sectors: golf course operations (e.g. green fees, memberships); capital investments (e.g. new course developments); golfer supplies (e.g. equipment, clothing); golf tournaments; golf tourism; and golf real estate.

The 53-billion-euro revenue figure represents 21 billion euro in direct income, plus the knock-on effects on the golf supply chain and golf-industry workers' consumer spending.

Other notable findings from the report include:

* Revenue raised directly from golf courses (green fees, memberships etc) totaled 7 billion euros in Europe, compared with approximately 23 billion euros in the U.S.

* In 2006, more than 160 new golf courses and almost 100 major course expansion projects were underway in EMA. When also considering investment in renovations and improvements of golf facilities, the revenue generated by these capital projects was 4 billion euros - almost two-thirds of that generated in the (much bigger) U.S. golf economy.

* The golf real estate business is now almost five times bigger than the investment in golf courses themselves. More than 150 golf-related real estate projects came to fruition in the region in 2006, providing 17,000 new villas, houses and apartments and generating a total of 18.8 billion euros. This outstrips the revenue from core activities at golf courses, such as green fees and memberships (18.5 billion euros). Buyers are prepared to pay up to a 30% premium on a property located in a golf community or golf resort.

* Golf tourism is now worth 6.5 billion euros in total revenue terms, of which 50% was accrued in Western Europe (France, Italy and especially Spain and Portugal). Holidaying golfers account for more than one in 100 leisure trips across the EMA region, and spend an average 250 euros per day on week-long golf holidays, only 26% of which is spent directly on playing golf.

* Golf tournaments and endorsements generated 820 million euros in 2006, including the 103 million euros from endorsement income of the top 150 players on the European Tour.

* The retail sales market for golf equipment and apparel in EMA is 1.9 billion euros.

The study is available, free of charge, at www.golfbenchmark.com.