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VENTURES: Compare Your Golfing Experience


Recent Western Cape Business News

GOLF courses in South Africa are among the busiest, compared to those in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMA), according to KPMG’s recent Golf Benchmark Survey.


The average number of rounds per year on 18-hole golf courses in the country was 33 404 in 2006, a figure bettered only by courses in the Middle East where the average was an incredible 42 000.


Based on the survey sample, courses in Gauteng recorded the highest number of rounds played with more than 43 000, while courses in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal also declared above average figures of 35- 40 000 rounds.


The average membership of 18-hole golf courses is larger in South Africa than anywhere else in EMA. The average number of members is       1 094, more than Northern Europe 1 017, Central Europe 779, Benelux 767, and Great Britain and Ireland 703.


There are massive variations in the price of membership and green fees in South Africa, depending on the quality of the facility. Annual subscriptions at high quality 18-hole courses average R5 535 (excluding average initiation    fees of     R9 320), compared to R3 646 (initiation fee R2 886) at good quality golf courses, and R2 516 (initiation fee R605) at lower to mid-quality golf clubs.


Average green fees (affiliated) at 18-hole courses ranged from R260 in the Garden Route and R207 in Cape Town, to R86 in the Free State and R59 in Northern Cape, with an overall average of R178.


Despite the significant number of rounds played and solid membership bases at South African golf courses, their average revenue level is only in the mid-range due to lower pricing compared to other regions.


The average revenue of the surveyed 18-hole courses in South Africa was R8.8 million in 2006, although top-performing courses reached an impressive R23.2 million. The average profit of 18-hole golf courses was R1.4 million; an average net operating profit of more than 15%.


The number of affiliated players in South Africa has increased by only 2.1% annually over the last five years to more than 150 000.


A significant part of this increase can be attributed to the growth in the number of affiliated female golfers, who now account for 13-14% of golfers in South Africa, says KPMG’s Yunus Suleman.


Across the EMA region, Great Britain and Ireland remains the largest market with 44.7% of all golf courses and 34.7% of players, compared to 6.6% and 3.4% respectively in South Africa.


However, it is the small but growing number of golf courses in the Middle East, Dubai in particular, that are the top performers. With average revenues of close to R44.5 million and average profit margins of 32%, fuelled by the highest annual membership subscriptions (R25 000) and 18-hole weekend green fees (R900) in EMA, the number of courses in the UAE alone is expected to triple in the next few years from the current 10.

 Golf in the Middle East continues to grow rapidly and, with Tiger Woods designing his first signature golf course in Dubai (Al Ruwaya), the European Tour’s recent announcements about the Dubai World Championship from 2009, and The Race to Dubai, there will be further significant development.Nearly 1 500 golf courses across the EMA region, including more than 120 courses from South Africa, submitted key data from 2006 results for KPMG’s Golf Benchmark Survey.

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