A Brief History of Swedish Golf

Back in the middle of the 1960s when Sven Tumba, the Swedish sports star decided to turn his hand to golf, thousands of middle class Swedes became interested in taking it up, and within no time at all, Sweden became a magnificent golf mecca.

The sport became so fashionable, that a whopping 500 courses were established over the following 40 years, and the number of Swedish golfers rose to close to 600,000. An incredible figure, considering Sweden’s tiny population. In fact, golfing was so popular, many courses had long waiting lists. Golf also added to the list of highly successful Swedish businesses, and when players ended up as club shareholders, just as with any financial bull markets, the price of membership soared.

When 2005 arrived, something unexpected in the Swedish golf industry emerged. The Swedish Golf Federation witnessed a substantial fall in rounds of golf and club memberships, something that had not happened since the Tumba effect. The Forty years of Swedish golf’s meteorologic growth was stopped in its tracks.

At the time of the crash, people speculated as to why this happened, and they still do so. They have come up with various answers including: the surge in video and internet games which kept people in their homes and away from real life golfing, people finding the golfing technique too complex, the extended time it takes to play a round of golf, and the high cost of being a club member.

There has been no proper research done on the subject, and there have been no professional consultants, discussion groups or panels looking into the matter, and to that end, there has not been a tangible solution. Incidentally, Sweden was one of the last countries to join the list of all the other nations around the world where there are less golfers. But Sweden turned the negatives into positives, made some adjustments, and emerged triumphant. It is now one of the world’s most renowned golf nations.