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Countries Where Golf Is Most Popular

Countries Where Golf Is Most Popular


Despite the fact that golf was invented in Scotland, their next door neighbor, Ireland, is the most popular country for the sport. Notice how many professional golfers in the world are from Ireland? There is Darren Clarke, Rory Mcllroy, Padraig Harrington, and Fred Daly, just to name a few. Check out this list of the best Irish golfers of all time,

Ireland has some of the best golf courses in the world including the Royal Dublin Golf Club, Cruit Island Golf Club, Adare Manor and Hogs Head Golf Club. It would be hard to visit Ireland and not consider golfing with all these beautiful courses surrounding you. Not to mention nearly every course in Ireland is open for the public, unlike Scotland and England where most courses are private. This definitely boots golf’s popularity in Ireland and is part of the reason why they are ranked #1 in the world. To view the top 100 golf courses in Ireland click here,     

The European Club is another beautiful golf course located forty miles south of Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. It has been said that the ocean views are mesmerizing. But the European Club is most known for its owner, Pat Ruddy, who opened the club in 1992.

With so many beautiful courses, and such a strong legacy of golf greats, Ireland is expected to remain the most popular country for golf for a long time to come.


Canada is another top country for golf with many great courses throughout the country with exceptional scenery. Canada is home to “Golf Canada”, the National Sports Federation and governing body for golf in Canada representing 271,000 golfers and 1,400 member clubs across the country, founded on June 6, 1895 as the Canadian Golf Association (CGA) at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Unlike Ireland, Canada has an almost even split between private and public courses. Some of the greatest private courses in Canada are located right in the Toronto area and include the Maple Downs Golf & Country Club, Cedar Brae Golf Club, Royal Ottawa Golf Club, Brampton Golf Club, and the Oakdale Golf and Country Club. To view a full list of private golf courses in the Toronto area click here,

There are also several incredible public courses in Canada where anyone can go and play including St. George’s Golf & Country Club, Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, The National Golf Club Of Canada, Capilano Golf and Country Club, and Jasper Park Golf Course. To see a full list of courses open to the public in Canada click here, 


Despite some talk that golf is “dying” in the UK, the fact is that golf remains one of most popular sports in the UK year after year, particularly this year as Paul Casey represents Britain in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

In fact, according to a report published in 2016 by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) golfers in the United Kingdom spent £4.3 billion on golf in 2014, accounting for 14% of all consumer spending on sports.

Simon Shibli BSc, ACMA, Professor of Sport Management and Head of Centre at Sheffield Hallam University and author of the report, said, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to produce a Satellite Account for golf on behalf of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), as it is the first time that a sport-specific Satellite Account has been produced. The positive physiological and mental health benefits of golf are already well understood. Golf is also remarkably valuable to the economy as our figures for consumer spending, gross value added (GVA), and employment demonstrate.”

For a full list of golf courses to check out in the United Kingdom view here,


Golf is one of the most popular sports in America, played by almost 10% of the population (almost 30 million people). Some of the most well known golfers of all time are from the USA including Tiger Woods, John Daly,  Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gene Sarazen. With so many famous golfers and legendary golf courses like Pinehurst, Pine Valley, Augusta National, and Cypress point, it is no wonder the sport has grown so large in the country.

The social aspect of the sport also attracts many Americans to the golf course. Between strokes and putts, golfers can talk about business or catch up with old friends as they putt away. It has become a part of business culture in the United States for both blue collar and white collar employees to meet on the links. This social aspect is one of the major drivers to the sports growth each year.

There are so many great courses to choose from in the United States offering challenges for all skill levels. To make it a little easier to choose your next course check out this list of the top 100 golf courses in the USA here,


A surprise for most of the world is how popular golf is in South Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, the weather in South Africa is neither too hot nor humid, allowing great conditions for playing almost all year.

One of the most popular courses in South Africa is The Legend Golf and Safari Resort located in Sterkrivier, just 3.5 hours north of Johannesburg. The Legend has all the comforts of a high-class golf resort, lodges for sleeping, good food in the new clubhouse, a solid Signature Course and an even stronger 10-hole, par-3 course called The Tribute. Legend is the only golf resort in the world with its own “Big Five” safari park. Imagine chasing lions and leopards at daybreak on a game drive, then encountering zebras later that day on the Signature course, a unique collaborative effort where 18 different famous pro golfers each designed a hole. That’s an epic day of golf and safari right there.

To view the top 100 golf courses in South Africa, click here


Golf in Japan is as unique as the country itself. Across the 6,852 islands, including the four main islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu, there are 2,349 golf courses, varying from revered top 100 courses to riverside pitch and putts. 

Japan has had a long love affair with the game of golf since it was imported into the country near the end of the 19th century. By the early 20th century, many fine courses were completed as the game became fashionable among Japan’s elite. Even today, Japan has more courses than the UK and can claim to be the oldest golfing scene outside of Europe and North America. However, few Westerners have truly grasped what a unique and excellent destination this island country is for golfers.

No game, however popular, is immune from economic forces. Golf’s popularity took a hit as the Japanese economy began to slow down in the 1990s. In the last decade, Japan has lost 1,000 golf courses and driving ranges. Player count is also down about two million from its peak in the 1990s. Japanese golf has bounced back from those trying times and remains strong at both the elite levels and as a recreational sport. As the world can see, the game there is on very good ground.

To view the top 100 golf courses in Japan, click here:

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