The game of golf is an enterprise now worth more than €50billion a year in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), according to a study from KPMG Golf Advisory Practice, launched at The Ryder Cup yesterday.

Although golf in the EMEA region is about one-third the size of the US industry, it is growing fast, especially in golf tourism and real estate.

According to KPMG’s research, these key sectors now account for almost half of the game’s total revenue. Real estate is the number-one money earner, bringing in almost €19billion, which outstrips the total cash generated on-course from green fees, memberships and sponsorship and attracts five times more investment than golf courses themselves.

The report found that in 2006, more than 160 new golf courses and almost 100 major course expansion projects were underway across the EMEA, producing 17,000 new villas, houses and apartments and generating a total of €18.8billion. Buyers are also prepared to pay up to a 30% premium on a property located in a golf community or golf resort.

To help drive sales during the credit crunch, the master agent of the Desert Springs Golf Resort in Almeria, southern Spain, is holding an open day on November 5 to encourage agents to sell its properties.

Open for inspection will be the apartments, townhouses, cottages, villas and country houses available for sale and agents will be able to learn about the ‘100% extra commission’ deal offered by the developer’s principal agent in northern Europe, the Cheltenham-based Almanzora Group. Until the end of this year the firm is offering a commission of 12% on selected properties for reservations confirmed by December 31, 2008.

Prices start at €233,000 for an apartment, rising to €2.5million and more than 300 units have been sold so far. The developer, the Almanzora Bay Group is currently working on new phases of the 750 ha project.

Further north on the Costa Daurada, the developer of Bonmont golf and residential community, the Med Group, has launched a golfing academy on site to help train new players and to attract potential buyers. The company also plans to launch a scholarship scheme with select public schools across the UK as part of its brand awareness campaign.

“We are proud to boast such a renowned golf course and it is tribute to the facilities we have at Bonmont that the decision was made to base the academy here,” said managing director Jesus Abellan. “All those participating in the tutoring packages will be able to sample the superb properties we have for sale, all of which overlook this stunning course and make it one of the most popular destinations for people wanting to invest in property abroad.”

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