Delving Deeper: Insight into Top Golfing Countries and their Course Counts
Asia has the densest population in the world and it is reflected in the number of golf courses. Japan is not only one of the wealthiest countries in Asia, but it also happens to be the country with the highest golf course count in the world. Japan boasts over 2,300 golf courses, which indicates a deep-seated golf culture. Part of this is due to the prestige associated with the sport, but also the beautiful terrain that Japan offers, making for some truly incredible golf course designs.
Turning to North America, the United States unsurprisingly nabs a top spot globally. With a rich golfing history, the United States is home to over 10,000 golf courses, including some of the world’s most iconic like Augusta National and Pebble Beach. Approximately 45% of the world's golf courses are in the United States, demonstrating the scale of its golf community and industry.
In Europe, England has more golf courses than any other European country with over 2,000 courses. This isn’t surprising given that golf was first played in neighbouring Scotland in the 15th century. Golf continues to be a national past time in the United Kingdom, hosting the oldest golf tournament, The Open Championship, annually.
Speaking of Scotland, it boasts over 550 golf courses. Despite its small size, the country is awash with world class golf courses including the historic St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Muirfield.
Australia also deserves a mention. With more than 1,500 golf courses, it ranks well among the top golf destinations globally. The combination of a perfect climate and varied landscape has allowed the creation of hundreds of immaculate golf courses.
While South Africa may not carry the numerical clout of some other countries, it holds its own in sheer quality and diversity. Home to approximately 450-500 golf courses, South Africa is known for courses that take advantage of the country’s rugged coastlines and dramatic landscapes.
To the Middle East, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to nearly 22 golf courses. Given the Emirates' size, this is impressive. Even more so given the challenging desert environment in which the courses are often created.
Argentina stands out in South America, with about 300 golf courses. Argentina has the most number of golf courses in South America, one of which is the Jockey Club Golf course, the oldest and most prestigious in the country.
Global Overview: Distribution and Density of Golf Courses
When it comes to the distribution and density of golf courses around the globe, the United States clearly holds the reign with an estimated 16,752 golf courses, according to a report by the National Golf Foundation, making it home to approximately 45% of the world's golf facilities. Consequently, the sport of golf has a significant cultural and economic impact in the country.
Following the United States, the countries with the largest number of golf courses include Japan, Canada, England, and Australia. Japan, noted for its passionate golfing culture, has over 3,169 courses according to the Japan Golf Association. Canada, with its vast landscape, hosts around 2,633 golf courses, primarily in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. England is home to approximately 2,270, many of which are steeped in history and tradition. Finally, Australia, known for its favorable golfing climate, houses around 1,616 golf courses.
On the other hand, the density of golf courses - that is, the number of golf courses relative to the country’s land area - paints a slightly different picture. To illustrate, Scotland, the birthplace of golf, has one of the highest densities with nearly 15 golf courses per 100,000 inhabitants. Similarly, the Republic of Ireland boasts a high density of golf courses, with about 10 golf courses per 100,000 people. This high density can be attributed to the countries' deep-seated golfing tradition and the sport's popularity among locals and tourists alike.
Interestingly, in densely populated countries with limited land areas, like Singapore and Hong Kong, we see a trend of creating vertically stacked golf driving ranges and implementing advanced technologies like virtual golf simulators to counter the lack of space and cater to their golf-loving populace.
Meanwhile, in continents like Africa and South America, golf might not be as popular. South Africa, with around 500 golf courses, leads the pack in Africa. In South America, Argentina is on top with close to 350 golf courses.
In conclusion, the distribution and density of golf courses worldwide are indicative not only of the sport's popularity across continents, but perhaps more significantly, of the historical, cultural, and economic contexts of golf within each particular country or region. As a result, a country’s number and density of golf courses do not just concern the sport itself, but also serve as a reflection of its relationship with golf.