Two percent of England is golf courses22nd January, 2014 by Jenny Yu
Approximately two percent of all the land in England is devoted to its nearly 2,000 golf courses, according to new research.
This means there is about twice as much land devoted to golf courses in England than there is to housing.
Merseyside is the English county that is most densely populated with golf courses – more than 18 of its 644 kilometers of land have golf courses on them, representing nearly three percent, and the area is hoping to build another major course shortly.
West Midlands is the second most densely covered county in England, with 2.74 percent of its land being golf courses, and Surrey, the county that was at the centre of a legal battle last year concerning it having no need for more golf courses, was third with 2.65 percent.
Yorkshire, which has 0.58 percent of land for golf courses, is thought to be the least golf-covered county in England.
The research is a mixture of England Golf data and calculations by Inside Housing blogger Colin Wiles, who believes that 270,000 hectares of English land is taken up by golf courses, which equates to two percent of England’s 13.4 million hectares of land area.
Domestic buildings take up 1.1 percent of the country, according to the government.
Golf commentator Peter Alliss said that the findings will do nothing to stop the public’s perception that golf is bad for the environment, but this is misguided.
“I would say the average golf club in Britain is 105 to 110 acres,” he said, “of which only about 25 to 40 acres is cultivated. So when people talk about golf courses taking up land or using huge amount of herbicides, that’s not right.
“At the moment there are enough golf courses to satisfy everyone. People are dropping out of golf clubs because the economy is tight. They’re relinquishing memberships because they realise they can pay a green fee instead. There’s a lot of nonsense talked about golf courses. More pesticides are put on farms than golf courses. They’re a sanctuary for wildlife and create a pleasant place for people to go and enjoy themselves.”
Pete Jefferys, from homeless charity Shelter, added: “Golf is not the answer to the housing shortage, but it does show that we shouldn’t despair. There is space to house the next generation, let’s get on with it.
“This is not to say we need to build over any golf course in the country, or have anything against golf. Just that we could find the land for homes if we really wanted to.”
Bermuda is thought to be the most heavily-golfed area on the planet. Approximately 8.2 percent of the island is devoted to golf courses.