Playing for Keeps


The latest findings by the National Golf Foundation reveal that golf resort development continues to provide the backbone of high-profile tourism investment in many parts of the world. Abode2 reports

Statistics gathered from over 40 countries, identify Scotland, Spain, Portugal and Florida, as the fairway front runners with relative ‘newcomer’ Latin America climbing the golf tourism popularity charts. Investment interest is also growing steadily in Asia and the Middle East, which currently has some of the world’s most profitable resort courses, with new residential golf projects being developed as part of national tourism strategies in countries as far apart as Vietnam, Abu Dhabi and Cuba.

The latest findings from the Royal and Ancient (R&A)and the European Golf Association (EGA), echo this upturn in relation to player numbers, confirming that over 10.6million people now enjoy playing golf in Europe, a healthy increase from the 7.9 million last monitored in 2016. This number takes account of both registered golf club members and non-club member independent golfers in each country, to provide a measure of total golfers playing the sport.

It’s perhaps therefore not surprising, that global increase in demand for green spaces, wellness and the opportunity to work remotely is driving new interest in golf properties too. Buyers, many of whom are leaving cities, and looking for a destination base for a distance/hybrid work set up, recognise the benefits of resort communities where nature, fresh air and five-star services come as standard.

So, how are the leading golf real estate developments responding to homeowners as they rethink their lives and require properties that are more than second homes? The European Tour Destinations network of world-class golf venues includes some of the most sought-after golf resort communities in Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Golf course homes they confirm, offer "more than just the game itself—there’s the hotel amenities, club membership, views, and stunning locations around the world to tempt buyers.”

“The pandemic provided the perfect springboard to boost the sport," comments Sean Noble, Managing Director of the Azalea Group, Europe’s premier golf tourism and marketing consultancy. "Golf courses thrived during the pandemic as people worked from home and were able to use the outdoor environment of golf as a relief. Perhaps that’s why so many are facilitating a regular round through property, bringing the course to their doorstep."

Proximity to greens has become a major selling point in the residential market, exemplified by top-tier luxury resorts in Spain, Greece and the Caribbean – communities such as Infinitum on Spain’s scenic Costa Dorada, Las Colinas Country Club in Alicante, Costa Navarino in Greece and Apes Hill in Barbados.

Western Europe is famed for its wealth of golf course communities, with a high number of investors looking to profit from holiday rentals when not using their property, as well as second-home seekers among their buyers. In Spain alone, some 8,400 properties are bought every year by visitors from the UK and other parts of Europe who love to play golf, but also enjoy spending time relaxing in the sunshine and on the beach.

More than 1.2 million golfers visit each year and it’s now the favourite destination in Europe for those who play, according to a recent report on the impact of golf on the economy produced by the IE Business School, the Spanish association of Golf Courses (AECG) and the Spanish Golf Federation (RFEG).

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