Who is the Number 1 Golfing Nation?

We all know who the regulars are when it comes to the best golfers in the world. And we all, of course, know who consistently has a huge number of golfers in the top 200 in the world (cough) the USA. However, what we really wanted to know, is who’s the best golfing nation by population.

The USA’s population dwarfs the likes of Denmark and Scotland for example, so it is no surprise that they regularly have a larger amount of top golfers than their smaller counterparts by population. We decided to mix things up a bit and judge the best pound for pound golfing nation through their total number of major championship wins and population.

Here’s where the maths came in… We worked out the total number of major championship wins from each nation. We then divided that number by the total population. Giving us the ranking figure of population per major championship win.

Now for the important part, who really is the best pound for pound golfing nation??


The Top 19 Pound for Pound Nations

19. France

Arnaud Massy

Major Championship Wins: 1

Population: 66,900,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 66,900,000
The first entry onto our list of the best pound for pound golf nations is France. Male French golfers have a total of 1 major championship to their names. This win dates all the way back to 1907 and that winner was Arnaud Massy. Massy won the Open Championship back in 1907. With it being over 110 years since French players won a major championship, one should be due in the near future, surely?

18. South Korea

Yang Yong-eun

Major Championship Wins: 1

Population: 51,250,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 51,250,000
South Koreans see golf as a status symbol, possibly down the how expensive it is to play golf there compared to the likes of Japan and the US. It is still an incredibly popular sport. South Korean golfers have won 1 men’s major championship, however, it is more towards the women’s side of the game where their strengths lie, with 47 Korean women playing on the LPGA. The 1 South Korean man to win a major championship is Yang Yong-eun, who won the 2009 PGA Championship, coming from behind to beat Tiger Woods.

17. Canada

Mike Weir

Major Championship Wins: 1

Population: 36,290,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 36,290,000
Golf is a widely popular sport in Canada. Golf Canada has over 300,000 individual members. Judging by that, it may be a surprise to see Canada only come in the best pound for pound nations table at 17th place. However, with 1 major championship win to their name and a population of 36m, they cannot move any higher. They’re one and only major championship winner is Mike Weir, who spent over 110 weeks in the world top 10 between 2001 and 2005 and won the Masters in 2003.

16. Germany

Martin Kaymer

Major Championship Wins: 4

Population: 82,670,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 20,667,500
Two golfers have pushed Germany into 16th place in the best pound for pound nation table. Those golfers are Martin Kaymer and Bernhard Langer who have both won 2 major championships during their career. Kaymer was actually the first German to win a major championship when he won the PGA Championship in 2010. Remarkably, one year later he rose to World No. 1, before winning another major championship in 2014, when he won the U.S Open.

15. Argentina

Ángel Cabrera

Major Championship Wins: 3

Population: 43,850,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 14,616,666
Nationals from Argentina have won a total of 3 major championships in their careers and they sit comfortably at 15th place in the all-time pound for pound nations table. Their most successful player is Ángel Cabrera who is also known as “El Pato” (Spanish for “The Duck”) for his waddling gait. Ángel was and still remains the first Argentine to win either the U.S. Open or the Masters, which he won respectively in 2007 and 2009.

14. Sweden

Henrik Stenson

Major Championship Wins: 1

Population: 9,903,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 9,903,000
Henrick Stenson is the one and only major championship winner for people from the nation of Sweden. Henrick won the Open Championship back in 2006. Stenson competed in the 2016 Olympic Games (the first Olympics that golf was rightfully reinstated as an Olympic sport since 1904). He was so close to victory for Sweden if it wasn’t for Justin Rose who pipped him at the post and denied him a feat of victories on all six continents that golf is played.

13. Spain

Seve Ballesteros

Major Championship Wins: 8

Population: 46,560,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 5,820,000
Spain is a country with a rich sporting past & golf contributes a huge amount to their overall sporting success. The sport is becoming ever more popular throughout Spain and the country is now home to many of the top European golf courses, with the likes of the Costa del Sol and the Costa Brava being golf tourist hotspots. It goes without saying who Spain’s most successful golfer is, but we’ll say anyway, the one and only Seve Ballesteros. Seve has a total of 5 major championship wins during his career. His admiral career led him to be one of golf leading figures through the 70s to the 90s.

12. Zimbabwe

Nick Price

Major Championship Wins: 3

Population: 16,150,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 5,383,333
Zimbabwe makes the list all down to one man… Nick Price. Nick has had an incredibly successful career. He’s won a total of 3 major championships between the short period in 1992-1994, where he won 2 Open titles and 1 PGA title. Price actually gave up his Zimbabwean citizenship in 1984 and played under his British passport, until 1996 when Price regained his dual citizenship.

11. Wales

Ian Woosnam

Major Championship Wins: 1

Population: 3,063,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 3,063,000
Golf in the UK mainly has an association with Scotland and England. However, golf in Wales actually dates back to the late 19th century. Taking into account the long tradition of playing the sport in Wales it is actually no surprise to see them make the list. That being said, the population of 3 million does go in their favour, with only 1 major championship win for Welsh players. That win was from Ian Woosnam in 1991, when he famously won the Masters.

10. South Africa

Gary Player

Major Championship Wins: 22

Population: 55,910,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 2,541,363
There are more than 125,000 golfers who are served by over 450 affiliated clubs across South Africa. Golf has always been a popular sport in South Africa and it was actually where famous English golfer Justin Rose was born until he moved to England aged 5. Gary Player is the most successful South African golfer. He has won a total of 9 major championships during his career. Gary is actually the joint 4th most successful golfer ever in terms of titles, which is no mean feat.

9. New Zealand

Bob Charles

Major Championship Wins: 2

Population: 4,693,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 2,346,500
Next up, is the home of the All Blacks, Lord of the Rings and world-famous vineyards. That’s right, the one and only New Zealand. New Zealanders can bost a total of 2 major championship titles in their time. The most recent title came in 2005 from 36-year old Michael Campbell when he won the U.S. Open by holding off the charging Tiger Woods by 2 shots to claim the title on the Sunday.

8. Ireland

Pádraig Harrington

Major Championship Wins: 3

Population: 4,773,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 1,591,000
The Emerald Isle is home to plenty of stunning golf courses, helped along the way by the constant greenery and picturesque shorelines through the country. Pádraig Harrington is their most successful golfer, with a total of 3 major championship titles to his name. Pádraig hails from Dublin and this sport-centric man was also a boxer and a hurler before becoming a professional golfer.

7. England

Nick Faldo

Major Championship Wins: 35

Population: 53,010,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 1,514,571
Around 8% of the English population play golf at least one time per year, so it is no surprise to see this golf loving nation at number 7. English golfers can shout about a total of 35 major championships between them, with 4 Masters titles, 7 U.S. Open titles, 22 Open titles and 2 PGA titles. Not bad for a nation on a small island hey? Nick Faldo is the most successful golfers in English golf history, with a total of 6 major championships, won from 1987-1996.

6. Australia

peter thomson

Major Championship Wins: 17

Population: 24,130,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 1,419,411
Golf in Australia officially dates back to 1931, when the first golf club was opened. Unofficially, golf was first played in Australia sometime during the 19th century, with several claims to the actual date that was. Australian golfers have won a total of 17 major championships in their time, with their most recent win coming from Jason Day. However, their most decorated Player is Peter Thomson, who won 5 Open titles between 1954-1965.

5. USA

Jack Nicklaus

Major Championship Wins: 268

Population: 325,700,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 1,215,298
If this was a list solely based on the number of major championship wins, then the USA would be streets ahead of any other nation, with a total of 268 major championship wins in their history. Ther are’s many well-decorated golfers through the history of the United States. The most decorated US golfer and in fact the most decorated golfer of all times it the one and only Jack Nicklaus. However, we couldn’t write this post without mentioning the likes of; Tiger Woods, Water Hagen and Ben Hogan. There are, of course, many more, but we would be here all day.

4. Fiji

Vijay Singh

Major Championship Wins: 3

Population: 898,760

Population Per Championship Wins: 299,586
Fiji is well known for its white sand beaches and crystal clear Pacific waters. It may come as a surprise to see this small Pacific island make the list at number 4. The Fijian push is all down to one man – Vijay Singh. Vijay has had a fantastic career. He was the 12th man to reach the world number 1 spot and rather interestingly, he was the only new number 1 in the 2000s decade.

3. Northern Ireland

Rory McIlroy

Major Championship Wins: 7

Population: 1,810,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 258,714
Northern Ireland takes spot number 3 on the list. Once again, their small population has ensured a population per championship win smaller than some golf heavyweights. Rory McIlroy is Northern Ireland’s most decorated golfer, with a total of 4 major championship wins to his name. At the age of 28, Rory is still going strong, although he’s not won a major championship since 2014, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him add to Northern Irelands major championships in the near future.

2. Scotland

James Braid

Major Championship Wins: 55

Population: 5,295,000

Population Per Championship Wins: 96,272
Scotland is a nation with great golfing heritage, with it being the birthplace of this great sport. There are over 550 golf courses spread across Scotland with many of these courses being known to be some of the finest in the world, so it comes as no surprise that Scottish golfers have won their fair share of major championships. A total of 55 is no small feat, especially when Scotland doesn’t have the huge population that some other golf heaviest do have. Scotlands most decorated golfer is James Braid with a total of 5 major championship wins.

1. Jersey

Harry Vardon

Major Championship Wins: 9

Population: 100,080

Population Per Championship Wins: 11,120
Drum roll… It’s Jersey who takes the number 1 spot as the best pound for pound country in golf. We know this may be controversial to some, but this small island which lays between England and France has a total of 9 major championship wins. With a population of only 100,080, it made Jersey a clear winner. Those 9 major championships are shared between two golfers from Jersey; Ted Ray with two championships to his name and Harry Vardon with a whopping 7 major championships, including 6 Open titles.
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