(NewsUSA) – Golfers who combine their love of the sport with their love of travel account for the growing travel niche of golf tourism.Golf tourism is travel just to play golf or when golf is secondary — when a beach vacationer decides to play a round or two. Every year, of the 56 million golfers worldwide, about six million take a trip to play golf.Europe is the largest golf tourism market, with a 44% share, while North America accounts for 30%. Of 32,000 golf courses in 140 countries, Europe has 6,000.Tapping into the growing demand for European golf tourism, Costa Cruises is offering a "Cruise & Golf" program on Mediterranean cruises through summer 2022."As an occasional ‘duffer’ myself, I can’t think of a better vacation than a Costa Mediterranean cruise combined with a few rounds of golf," says Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa. "Playing these top European courses will give you bragging rights for years."Starting in May on Costa Smeralda’s seven-day cruises, this offer gives guests a choice of 15 of the most prestigious golf courses in Italy, France and Spain. Rome has five available courses (including the Marco Simone in Rome, where Italy’s first Ryder Cup will be played in 2023); Savona, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca each have two; and Marseille offers four.An avid golfer could take back-to-back cruises and not play the same course twice!The "Birdie" package offers three courses, and the "Eagle" four. Both packages include priority access on and off the ship, equipment storage and insurance, welcome kit, snack basket, private transfers, golf balls, lanyard with card holder, golf bag tag and branded cap. Additional perks include early breakfast times, flexible dinner times and reserved restaurant seating.A Birdie package starts at $1,322 for one guest or $992 each for two. Cruise fares start at $849 per person, plus taxes, fees and port charges of around $70.If you want to "shoot for the green" on the finest courses in Europe while enjoying the finest in Italian cuisine, culture and entertainment on a Costa cruise, contact a travel agent, visit costacruises.com or call Costa Cruises at 1-800-462-6782.