In a recent survey completed by Alastair Rae who works in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield, he found that Great Britain was about 0.54% golf course, or the size of Greater Manchester for better comparision.
In order for him to do this, he enlisted the help of Ordnance Survey who had just released an open set of data containing golf course coverage by district council boundaries. The findings of which were particularly interesting for the Sevenoaks District, with a total of 12.16 square kilometres of fairways and greens, making it the capital area for golf in Kent.
Sevenoaks was placed 40th overall in the UK with a golf course to land ratio of 3.28%. Tonbridge & Malling district were a little bit further behind with 3.95 square kilometeres of courses and a ratio of 1.65%. Alastair stated on his blog why he chose to look closer at this: “The reason is that I like to know things like this, particularly when such figures are used to debate issues like housing and the availability of land in some parts of the country”.
We understand the whole affordable housing issue (we do, honestly), but we are a sports magazine after all, so we are going to celebrate the beauty of having 20 golf clubs, literally on some peoples doorsteps.
These are pieces of land that are permanently maintained, and like the National Trust and National Heritage sites, you can pay to walk round these marvellous courses, and the bonus is you can even take your golf clubs too.
We have golf courses such as Knole Park with deer grazing just off the 18th green, or the rolling hills of Lullingstone Park that give your legs a proper work out. We also have an Open Championship course in Wildernesse who hosted a regional qualifying event earlier this year and Nizels Golf & Country Club who have become a stalwart for the Junior PGA Championships.
Many of the golf courses now offer a driving range as standard and club membership is becoming increasingly cheaper. Maybe not as cheap as those other organisations, but have you ever tried taking a full set of clubs around Penshurst Place or Chartwell without getting noticed, or being charged for extra baggage?
So whatever your view is on golf and golf courses, we ask you to be proud that we have so many around us, they are beautifully curated by the people who care for them and they are hopefully here to stay.
Alastair did admit in his blog that there was no real reason why he performed the survey, he just wanted to see what the factual figures were, and we’re pleased he did!
See our maps of golf courses in the local authorities of Sevenoaks and Tonbridge & Malling above.