The global golf industry has been flourishing, with an estimated worth of over $84 billion in 2022, a 22percent increase since 2011.The US golf course and club market is $27 billion as of 2023.
According to the National Golf Foundation the golf apparel market which was valued at 2.83 dollars in 2022 is expected to grow by 4 percent this year while the golf equipment market worldwide will reach $8.74 billion by the end of 2023.
Meanwhile 81percent of Gen Z players say that the social aspect of golf makes them want to play more.
The direct economic impact of golf for the US economy according one research is $102 billion, a 20percent increase over 2016 when it was $84 billion.
This ever-growing market presents immense opportunities for countries worldwide, including Ghana, to tap into and benefit from the socio-economic and tourism benefits this industry holds.
Evaluating Ghana's golfing potential
Ghana boasts stunning landscapes, pleasant climate, and a rich cultural heritage, making it an ideal location for golf enthusiasts. The country already has a few golf courses, with the most prominent being the Achimota Golf Club in Accra and the Tema Country Golf Club. However, Ghana has yet to tap into its full golfing potential.
One key ingredient missing in this setting is infrastructure. Accompanied with a non-existent good ecosystem that sits well with our ecological environment, if these two are tackled the sport can change our poor economic trajectory and create jobs for the massive youth in the country.
To attract golf tourists and build a thriving golfing industry, it is crucial for Ghana to invest in developing the necessary infrastructure. This includes constructing world-class golf courses with top-notch facilities and amenities.
These constructions must be mostly done in the hinterlands which can drive tourists to such places and grow the local economy there.
Also collaborations with experienced international golf course designers can be advantageous in ensuring the quality and sustainability of these developments.
When the infrastructure deficit is tackled effective marketing and promotion are essential to promote the sport in the country.
This must be spearheaded by the Ghana Tourism Authority with collaborations from international golf associations and tour operators to create targeted marketing campaigns that highlight Ghana's unique golfing experiences.
Furthermore hosting high-profile golf tournaments, inviting professional golfers, and organizing golf events can generate international interest and encourage golf tourists to explore Ghana as a prime golfing destination.
Training and Development
One key component that can help with the growth and development of Ghana’s golf industry is the investment in training and developing local talent.
This can be achieved by providing golf scholarships to aspiring young golfers that nurture a skilled workforce that will contribute to the industry's success.
Furthermore, establishing golf academies and training centers can help groom and refine Ghanaian golfers, enabling them to compete at national and international levels.
Also the Ghana Golf Association (GGA) should seek partnerships with renowned international golf organizations and associations to leverage their expertise and resources.
Collaborating with these entities will assist in organizing golf clinics, coaching programs, and increasing exposure to golf development initiatives. Such partnerships can greatly contribute to the growth and recognition of Ghana's golf industry globally.
Fostering a golfing culture and supporting local entrepreneurs
To ensure a sustainable golf culture just as football is idolized, the GGA must foster a golfing culture among its citizens, especially the youth.
This can be achieved by creating awareness and providing access to golf facilities for all segments of society.
Initiatives such as introducing golf programs in schools, scholarships for underprivileged children, and community outreach programs can help popularize and democratize the sport.
The GGA and the government must consciously encourage local entrepreneurs to invest in golf-related businesses that can foster economic growth and create job opportunities. With a flourishing golf industry, businesses related to equipment sales, golf tourism, hospitality, and retail can thrive, further boosting the economy.