Thursday, March 15, 2012

europe KPMG on Europe’s “Stagnation”

Given the state of the world’s economy, it was predictable: Last year, the number of golfers in Europe decreased. The loss wasn’t large -– just 46,000 “registered” players in a market of 4.4 million -– but it was nevertheless the first decline in Europe’s golf participation rate in more than two decades.

Stagnation, KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice calls it in “Golf Participation in Europe 2011.”

What we don’t yet know, of course, is whether this 1 percent deterioration is a portent of dreadful things to come or merely a minor fluctuation that will be reversed when good times again begin to roll. After all, as KPMG’s study notes, the number of golfers in Europe has more than doubled over the past 25 years. Clearly, the trend is -– or at least was -– in favor of growth.

What’s more, most of last year’s decline was registered in just three areas of the continent: the U.K. and Ireland (down by 42,700), Sweden (down by 21,000), and Spain (down by 9,700). While those nations were losing players, other nations -- Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and the Czech Republic -- registered growth of between 1.8 percent and 7.6 percent.

As far as the future goes, KPMG predicts “a tough year” for golf in 2012 but believes growth will pick up in concert with Europe’s overall economic recovery. The nagging problem: “The timing and nature of such a recovery,” the study concludes, “is obviously difficult to forecast.”

To read the report, visit