Sports Marketing Surveys have released a statistical guide ahead of the Open Championship. The pamphlet, compiled by their golf research department, includes a number of detailed studies on the modern game, focussing particularly on European golf growth trends, the European Tour itself, and golf in the media.

Here is a brief summary of their findings.

European golf growth trends

Since 1985, the number of registered golfers in Europe has more than tripled, and now stands at 4.3 million.

The number of Eastern European golfers has increased by 487% since 1997.

UK golf participation

The number of full course users in the UK remains at around the 4 million mark, with over 3 million golfers using driving ranges.

The volume of rounds played in the UK in the first quarter of 2008 was up 6.3% on the same period last year.

The average age of golfers in the UK is 42.

Consumer trends

64% of golfers in 2007 had tested a Utility Club. This is a year on year increase of 28%.

Less than 22% of regular gofers have golf lessons.

Almost 70% of regular golfers wear a glove to play golf.

European Tour

The 50 ranking events on the European Tour schedule this year are being played in 26 different countries, with Great Britain hosting 8 events, the USA hosting 6, and Spain hosting 5.

Asian countries are host to 9 events on this year’s schedule.

13 different countries have already been represented on the winner’s circle at the 35 completed events in the 2008 season.

Pablo Larrazabal won the Open de France without the use of a driver, during all 4 rounds, on a course that measured 7225 yards.

Golf in the media

A total of 31.3 million unique TV viewers watched golf in 2007.

The 2007 Open Championship attracted more than 19.5 million unique TV viewers in the UK- more than any other golf event.

3153 hours of golf were broadcast on UK television in 2007, accounting for 8% of total sports coverage, and making it the fourth most widespread sport.