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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

Golf Around the World

by National Golf Foundation

September 2021

Did you know that 82% of countries worldwide have golf courses – from American Samoa to Zambia?

Or that there are more than 38,000 courses globally? Only 7-Eleven and Subway have more physical business locations around the world, although they reach far fewer countries.1

NGF maintains the official database of golf courses worldwide. A dedicated team verifies the operational status of all golf facilities – on a 12-month cycle within the U.S., and every 24 months globally.2 New courses in planning and under construction are also tracked.

Every two years, the R&A releases “Golf Around the World,” a publication based on the NGF database. This free report, available for digital download here, looks at the game’s global reach through the lens of worldwide supply — both existing courses and those under development.

In 2020 golf was played in 206 of the 251 countries and dependent territories recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). There’s even a 9-holer on Christmas Island, an Australian outpost in the Indian Ocean that has a local rule regarding “robber” land crabs known to take golf balls.

While golf is widely dispersed, it also remains highly concentrated, with 80% of courses in the top 10 best-supplied countries.


Home to 42% of world supply, the U.S. is far and away the global leader with 16,000+ golf courses. Japan (3,140) and the U.K. (3,101) are neck and neck in second and third place.

There’s much more in the R&A report, including which regions have the most golf courses and golf holes compared to population, the most golf courses compared to land area, and the most golf course projects in development. If you are as consumed by wanderlust as you are by golf, you’ll find it to be inspiring reading.


1 Click here to see which businesses have the most physical locations around the world.
2 Verifications are completed by phone, email and online via course websites and satellite imagery.

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National Golf Foundation

The National Golf Foundation is a community of individuals and golf businesses committed to being the most well-informed advocates for the growth of the industry. With the world’s largest research team dedicated to golf, NGF provides members with the most accurate and objective insights on the game. We help golf businesses better understand their market and grow their businesses. The NGF is the only association for everyone in golf, and we advocate for growth by educating and connecting our members.