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Over 160 Million Golf Rounds Played in Europe, Middle East & Africa


KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice has published its Golf Benchmark Survey 2008 for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The report, now in its third year and regarded as one of the most important sources of industry knowledge, analyzes the business performance of golf courses across the EMA region, based on golf courses' performance in the 2007 operating year. This year's report specifically focuses on the number of rounds played and total revenues generated.

More than 1,500 courses in 35 countries participated in the comparative survey which, for the first time, includes figures for the growing North Africa region. Pioneering regional reports for China and South America are also being published as part of the 2008 survey (all reports are available to download free of charge at www.golfbenchmark.com).

The development of the golf market in the EMA region has been remarkable. In the past 20-25 years, the number of courses has been growing by approximately 3 percent annually, while the number of golfers has increased by 5 percent annually. Today there are close to 7,100 regular golf courses across the EMA region and approximately 4.5 million affiliated golfers.

Highlight findings of the Golf Benchmark Survey 2008, include:

* Golf courses in Dubai remain the highest earners in the EMA region, with an average annual turnover exceeding EUR 7 million, a slight increase on last year and four times more than courses in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

* The top five performing regions are the Middle East (EUR 5.8 million), Western Europe (EUR 1.4 million), Benelux (EUR 1.4 million), Central Europe, comprising Germany, Austria and Switzerland (EUR 1.1 million) and Great Britain & Ireland (EUR 933,000), the largest golf market in EMA by share of courses (42 percent) and golfers (33 percent).

* Golf Courses in Eastern Europe recorded the lowest average revenues, EUR 559,000.

* Although growing, the golf market in the Middle East is comparatively small with 26 courses (0.4 percent of the total number of courses in EMA) and 17,900 affiliated players (0.4 percent).

* The estimated total number of rounds of golf played across EMA was 162.5 million.

* The region with the most rounds played was Great Britain and Ireland 75.3 million (46.3 percent), followed by Western Europe 28.5 million (17.5 percent), Central Europe 18.8 million (11.6 percent), Northern Europe 18.2 million (11.2 percent) and South Africa 11.7 million (7.2 percent).

* Golf courses in the Middle East recorded the highest number of rounds played per 18-hole course, averaging 40,237 rounds per year, followed by South Africa 33,575, Benelux 28,092, Great Britain & Ireland 26,853 and Western Europe 25,870.

* However, the number of rounds at top performing 18-hole golf courses is even higher with 49,200 rounds at courses in Western Europe, South Africa 48,743 and Middle East 47,150.

Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice in EMA, said of the data: "When comparing revenues and profitability with development costs by region, golf facilities in the Middle East generate the highest average revenues/profit per hole, while this is the region where it costs the most to develop a golf hole, according to our research: EUR 528,000 against the average of EUR 217,000 in the EMA Region."

Other regional highlights include:

* Northern Europe (Scandinavia) - the larger the course, the higher the proportion of member rounds. On 18-hole courses, the number of member rounds is 67 percent, 27-holes 68 percent and 36-holes 73 percent.

* Spanish golf courses are among the best performers in the EMA region in terms of the number of rounds played. The top 20 percent of performers in Spain achieved more than 54,000 rounds on average.

* Swiss golf courses achieved the highest average revenues in Central Europe with EUR 1.4 million, followed by Germany EUR 1.1 million and Austria EUR 1.0 million.

* Great Britain & Ireland - approximately 50 percent of revenues of 18-hole golf courses come from membership and 20 percent from green fees.

Sartori added: "The comparative Golf Benchmark Survey report for EMA and the three new regional reports for China, North Africa and South America, are the culmination of a number of important research projects published this year as part of the Golf Benchmark initiative, including the 'Golf Travel Insight' report and 'The Golf Course Development Cost Survey.' In addition, KPMG published 'The Value of Golf to Europe, the Middle East and Africa,' in cooperation with Oxford Economics. These reports provide unique market intelligence and, as such, can strongly support the industry shareholders' business decisions.

"I would like to thank golf course owners and operators for their invaluable help in compiling the Golf Benchmark Survey 2008 and hope that industry stakeholders will find the information in this report, and our other reports, useful in their business operations. Furthermore, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the sponsors and supporters of the Golf Benchmark initiatives for their continuous support."