At Leadingcourses.com we’re crazy about stats. We love digging into all the data provided by golfers that use our platform. It’s a reiterative circle, because with the data provided by golfers, we create new, interesting information for golfers. This time we bring you the best, and “worst” countries in Europe to play golf.
A lot of golfers visit Leadingcourses.com to plan their golf holiday. In Europe most golfers end up going to “the usual suspects”: Spain, Portugal and Turkey. But are those countries actually the best ones to go to when it comes down to quantity, quality and price? Our recent study shows that the answer to that question is a resounding no!
Wales gets you the most bang for your buck!
So where do you get the best quality for the least amount of money, or to rephrase that, where do you get the most bang for your buck? Quite surprisingly the study shows that the country you should be visiting on your next golf holiday is not any of the above mentioned usual suspects, but it is Great Britain’s Wales! Home to the longest official one-word placename in Europe (Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch), Wales offers a staggering 850 miles of raw and rugged coastline, home to world-class links golf. But there’s more than just links golf. Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort, venue of the Ryder Cup in 2010 is just one of around 174 courses (120 of them 18 holes or more) – including some of the world’s top links courses like Royal Porthcawl Golf Club and Royal St. David’s Golf Club – all packed into a country that’s just 60 miles wide and 170 miles long. With an average rating of 7,88 on Leadingcourses.com and an average green fee of a mere € 34,-, Wales absolutely offers the most bang for your buck!
Northern Ireland, England, Sweden also score well
It’s not just Wales that does well in our bang for your buck index. Northern Ireland – home country of golf superstar Rory McIlroy – scores almost just as well as Wales. Their average green fee price is the same as in Wales, they just score a little lower in average course rating. With Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland has two world class golf courses but many of the lesser known courses are also definitely worth a visit.
England is a pure Valhalla in terms of number of golf courses. With more than 1500 (18+ hole) golf courses to choose from the options to play golf are endless. Whether it’s exclusive courses like Wentworth, Centurion Club and Royal Birkdale, Open Championship links courses like Royal St Georges and Royal Lytham & St Annes or a Rock star owned, low priced course like The Astbury, there is a golf course for everyone.
Sweden is not only famous for Ikea, Volvo and Abba, but also for producing large numbers of top notch golfers. One of the reasons for this is their approach to youth golf. Membership rates are very reasonable and juniors get free lessons. And who wouldn’t want that? Average green fee prices are well below € 40,- and with an average rating of 7,69, Sweden is a great country to visit.
Good weather comes at a price
Have you recovered from the “shock” that Wales is your new go to place when it comes to golf holidays? Well you’re in for another shocker. Remember those three countries we mentioned at the start of this blogpost. The ones everybody visits year in, year out? Well they’re at the very bottom of the list. That’s right, Spain, Turkey and Portugal offer you the least bang for your buck. Take another minute to recover from that.
So does that mean you should never visit Spain, Turkey and Portugal again? No, don’t be silly. They are still great countries as a golfer and the nice weather obviously plays a big part in the decision making of the golfer, but that weather does come at a price. Portugal for instance has an average green fee of a hundred euros, that’s almost three times the price of the average green fee in Wales!
Bang for your buck index
|Country||Bang per buck||Avg fee||Rating||Clubs|
|Northern Ireland||€ 34||7,7||69|
|Republic of Ireland||€ 44||8,1||283|
|Czech Republic||€ 45||8,1||53|
* The bang for the buck index is calulated by dividing the avg. rating on Leadingcourses.com by the avg. green fee rack rates. The outcome is multiplied by 40 to get a scale from 1 to 10.
Big Mac index
We did not only look at the best countries to play in when you’re traveling, but also which countries are the best to live in as a golfer. To create this list, we used the Big Mac Index. The Big Mac index was invented by newspaper The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity.
In other words, we’ve compared the price of a Big Mac in a country with the price of a green fee. How does the price of a big mac relate to the average green fee price in a country?
Are you from Sweden? You are in luck. You pay the least!
It turns out that the best place to live as a golfer is Sweden! That’s right, they’re not only a great country to travel to for a round of golf, living there is quite neat as well. The price of a Big Mac in Sweden is € 4,90. That means you only need 7,45 Big Mac’s to pay for your green fee! Now please don’t actually try to pay in hamburgers as we’re pretty sure there will be some serious frowning going on at the other side of the counter.
So Sweden had managed to keep their green fees at a very acceptable rate for Swedes, but how do other countries do? Sweden’s neighbour Norway also does a terrific job. With a Big Mac index of 8,69 Norwegians don’t have to empty their piggy banks to go for a round of golf in their own country. Same goes for Wales and Northern Ireland who are the only other two who manage to keep their Big Mac index below 10.
Turkish golfers pay the most to play in their own country
For Turkish golfers it’s the least attractive to play golf in their own country. Although a Big Mac costs the least for Turks – € 2,50 – their average green fee is a staggering € 93,-. That means paying for the average green fee would mean the same as having to buy 36 Big Mac’s! Bare in mind that Turkey only has 16 golf clubs and that it still is a very elite sport which is mainly played by tourists.
It’s basically the same story in Portugal (Big Mac index 31,78) and Spain (19,51). Incomes aren’t very high, but green fee prices are. One thing these three countries do have in common: the nice weather. But as we mentioned before, that does come at a price.
Big Mac index
|Sweden||€ 4,9||€ 37||7,55|
|Norway||€ 5,0||€ 44||8,80|
|Wales||€ 3,5||€ 34||9,71|
|Northern Ireland||€ 3,5||€ 34||9,71|
|England||€ 3,5||€ 35||10,00|
|Denmark||€ 3,9||€ 45||11,54|
|Scotland||€ 3,5||€ 43||12,29|
|Republic of Ireland||€ 3,5||€ 44||12,57|
|France||€ 4,0||€ 55||13,75|
|Germany||€ 3,8||€ 53||13,95|
|Italy||€ 4,1||€ 62||15,12|
|Czech Republic||€ 2,8||€ 45||16,07|
|Belgium||€ 3,9||€ 64||16,41|
|Netherlands||€ 3,5||€ 60||17,14|
|Austria||€ 3,3||€ 64||19,39|
|Spain||€ 3,7||€ 72||19,46|
|Portugal||€ 3,1||€ 100||32,26|
|Turkey||€ 2,5||€ 93||37,20|
The average green fee price in Europe is € 54,-
As you can see in the Bang for your Buck index above, green fees in Europe vary from a mere € 34,- in Wales to a whopping € 100,- in Portugal. The average gree fee price in Europe is € 54,-. The two countries closest to that average green fee are Germany (€ 53,-) and France (€ 55,-).
If we have learned one thing from this study, it is that things are not always as you expect them to be. Who would have thought that countries like Portugal, Spain or Turkey would turn out to be the “worst” countries to visit as a golfer? And we definitely weren’t expecting Wales or Northern Ireland to top the rankings. But on the other hand, it isn’t all that strange. People have been playing golf in Great Britain and Ireland since the beginning of days basically, so rest assured that they know a thing or two about golf. So If you don’t just do it for the nice weather, why not give one of these countries a chance next time you’re planning your golf holiday?!
- The average green fee is based on data from Leadingcourses.com of all golf clubs in a country. Green fee rates (Dec’ 2017) can be subject to change.
- The rating is based on the information of golf clubs that are open to the public, they have 18 or more holes and an active rating on Leadingcourses.com.
- Local currency has been converted to Euro’s.
- Big Mac index Jul 2017
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