Scottish Golf Courses

Golf has social value of £1.8bn

New Sheffield Hallam University research reveals wider social and economic benefits of the sport

New Sheffield Hallam University research reveals wider social and economic benefits of the sport

By Chris Johnston

Getting out on the golf course has never been better for you or your community, according to a report commissioned by England Golf and the PGA, which looks at the benefits for society of the sport.

The research concluded that golf has an overall social value of £1.8bn and that every £1 spent on golf generates £1.17 worth of social benefits.

Conducted by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, the research took into consideration the total social value of golf participation measured through factors such as subjective well-being, health and social capital and divides this by total inputs into the sport from golf players, volunteers, funders of the game and the delivery bodies.


Enhanced well-being is by far the most striking reward for players, equating to £2,380 per person or a total of £1.2bn. However, the report also found that you do not even have to play the game to benefit, as a further 10% or £178.8m is found in the positive emotions generated by volunteering. Put simply, people who are regularly involved in the sport are happier and feel the benefits across their everyday lives.

Improved health is the second biggest benefit (22% of total social value), with players aged 55 and upwards recording the most significant rewards, including a reduced risk of dementia and coronary heart disease. Other health benefits include a reduced risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and type 2 Diabetes.


All ages benefit from being involved in golf, from youngsters who play at university who typically have a higher starting salary than their non-sporting counterparts through to the older generation who receive the health benefits detailed above.

The industry-leading report represents the first time that such research has been undertaken for a specific sport.

Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf, commented: “By exploring the associated social benefits it has become clear that the sport’s overall impact extends far greater than just financial rewards and that there is a powerful argument for continued investment in golf participation across young and old alike. We are keen to highlight the importance of golf to the older generation whether a new or existing player.”

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