New survey reveals multi-million euro value of golf in Ireland
Irish golfers are spending €379m per annum on their sport, according to a report commissioned by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and the R&A.
The report, titled 'A Satellite Account for Golf in the Republic of Ireland', was conducted to evaluate golf's economic value to the country.
Of the €379m, the top three elements of consumer spending within the sport are €94m on club membership fees, €46m on food and beverage in clubs and €39m on golf equipment.
Carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, the research also shows that 9,030 people are directly employed within the golf sector on the island of Ireland, with 6,800 of these in the Republic.
Golf clubs are the most significant employers (34pc), followed by the golf equipment and sportswear sectors (13pc) and the tourism and accommodation industries (11pc).
These employment levels equate to the golf industry being responsible for 0.3pc of total employment in the Republic of Ireland - the equivalent of one in 300 jobs.
It is interesting to note that despite the big drops in club membership since the economic downturn began in 2008, the game remains very popular.
The report says that the Republic has 281,000 adult golfers and Northern Ireland 103,000, of whom 160,000 play at least once every four weeks.
Individually, consumer spend per adult golfer in the Republic reaches an average of €1,350 per annum.
If we talk about GVA - that's Gross Value Added to you and me - of the overall golf industry, the figures are impressive: €202m, which equates to 0.1pc of the entire Irish economy.
The major contributors to golf's GVA are the activities of golf clubs, including food and beverage operations and recreational golf, at €89m (44pc).
This GVA analysis also highlights the sport's important association with the equipment, clothing and footwear sectors (€21m), tourism and accommodation in golf resorts (€25m) and the construction and real estate industries (€15m).
You will, no doubt, be delighted to know that golf contributes €93m to the public sector in corporation tax and VAT.
We also play way more golf than our UK neighbours. According to the report, one in 20 adults in Ireland is a member of a club, while the equivalent ratio in the UK is one in 100.
Redmond O'Donoghue, chairman of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, said: "This study proves that golf plays a far more important role in our economy than many would have expected.
"It is quite clear now that golf, as well as being a healthy and enjoyable activity, makes a significant contribution to the economy."