Whilst there are many people who believe golf is a boring sport, it’s actually incredibly popular. In fact, it is a global sport played by millions of people around the world.
According to the National Golf Foundation, 25.1 million Americans played the game on a course in 2021, while 12.4 million did it off-course in simulations, in-door courses, and mini-golf courses. Most countries have at least a few public and private courses where professional and recreational golfing occurs.
The sport has a fair fan base in the USA, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and several others. Unlike other sports, it is played any time of the year, contributing to its popularity. Although there are fewer players in the winter months as the game becomes weather dependent. It has also become popular on betting platforms, making it among the most wagered sports in the world.
Let’s look at countries where golf is widely played. In these countries, the ratio of golfers to the total population is higher than in other countries.
Most Popular Countries for Golf
Ireland and Northern Ireland
Ireland is a small country and Northern Ireland is even smaller, but if you live there, there is a high probability that you play golf. they are the two countries where the sport is deemed most popular in the world. There are many top professional golfers who are from these parts including Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Rory Mcllroy, and Fred Dally.
The country is home to some of the world’s top courses, such as the Royal Dublin, Hogs Head, Cruit Island, and Adare Manor. These beautiful courses draw a lot of tourists who visit them to play professionally or for fun. To make it more interesting, nearly every course in the country is open to the public, encouraging many citizens to try the sport.
Canada is the second most popular golf country. It is home to many great courses split into public and private. Golf Canada, a federation body for Canadian golfers, has 271,000 members and 1,400 member clubs. Mike Weir is a famous professional golfer who has raised the popularity of the sport within Canada and also put Canadian players on the map.
There are more than 2600 courses with exceptional scenery in Canada. Some of the top private courses in the country include Cedar Brae, Maple Downs, and Royal Ottawa. They are mainly located in Toronto. The public courses include St. George’s, The National Golf Club of Canada, and Fairmont Banff Springs.
Three are over 2,000 courses across England, Scotland and Wales that demonstrate the sport’s popularity in Great Britain. In fact, an interesting fact is that Scotland is the origin of the modern-day game and the home of the world’s oldest course, the Old Course at St Andrews.
England, Scotland and Wales have all played host to competitions like British Open and many more over the years. Many of their most high-profile players have also taken part in the Ryder Cup, a tournament that pits the best golfers in the world from Europe against those from the USA. It’s a fascinating tournament played every couple of years, and watched by millions.
The country is home to Tiger Woods, who was the biggest name in the sport for many years, along with John Daly, Arnold Palmer, Gene Sarazen, and Jack Nicklaus. There are around 16,000 courses in the U.S., like Cypress Point Club, Valhalla, Oak Hill Country Club, and the Pinehurst Resort Club.
The PGA Tour is the most popular competition in the U.S. that draws international players from many parts of the world.
The magnificent courses and favourable weather conditions make South Africa great for lovers of the sport. The weather is neither too humid nor hot, allowing golfing activities to happen any time of the year.
The Legend Golf and Safari Resort in Sterkrivier is among the top courses in the country, with stunning sceneries and world-class facilities. Imagine playing a round or two and later watching lions and leopards chasing zebras. Legend has its own Big Five safari Park where visitors enjoy the spectacular wildlife scenes.
Japan is a unique country with an exceptional following for the sport as well. There are 2,349 courses across the 6,852 islands. It boasts the finest courses where over two million players play professionally and for fun.
Japan’s economic downturn in the 1990s affected the sport’s popularity in the country but it has slowly picked up in the last decade.
Australia is home to about 1,000 courses, mainly in Sand Belt, Melbourne. PGA Tour of Australians, Australian Masters, and Australian Open are some big-name competitions run by different golf associations in the country.
Australia has a beautiful climate, great views, and top courses, placing the country among the top ten nations in terms of where the sport is most popular. If you’re wondering who is the biggest name to come from down under, then Greg Norman is probably the most popular Australian player you’ll recognise.
This is a beautiful country. Most courses are found near the beaches providing tremendous views to the players. However, winter seasons hamper activities, so if you are planning to go and play a round or two in New Zealand, plan adequately on time.
Are You A Fan Of Golf?
So there we have it, the countries around the world where golf is an incredibly popular sport no matter how many people claim that it is boring. Are you a fan of golf yourself? Do you play on the regular? Let us know what golf stories you have and your favourite courses you have played in the comments below.
For more content on this sport, check out our Golf section.