Great Britain and Ireland: Golf participation continues to grow

According to a study by Sporting Insights, golf continues to enjoy great popularity in Great Britain and Ireland. Compared to the previous year and before the pandemic, significant growth was recorded.

“Sporting Insights” examines golf participation in the British Isles at regular intervals. For the year 2022, the second highest value of adult golfers since records began over 30 years ago is given. Golf in the UK continues to grow, according to the data.

Specifically, the data shows that 5.6 million adult golfers were on the courses of Great Britain and Ireland. The study, in cooperation with the R&A and the national associations of Great Britain and Ireland, only counted full-length courses of 9 or 18 holes.

Golf in the UK: 50 per cent growth

Golf participation in 2022 increased by 265,000 golfers, according to Sporting Insights, well above the 2021 figures (5.3 million) and only just below the record set in the 2020 pandemic year (5.7 million golfers). At the beginning of the corona pandemic, golf had experienced enormous growth.

The current figures also show a significant increase in the number of golfers compared to before the pandemic. In 2019, 3.7 million golfers were on the courses of Great Britain and Ireland. This represents a growth of more than 50 per cent in three years. This has included an increase in the proportion of female golfers: 20 per cent were female in 2022, up from 15 per cent in 2019.

“It is very positive to see the number of on-course adult golfers grow in Great Britain and Ireland last year,” Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer of The R&A, was pleased to say. “The sport remains very popular on full-length courses as large numbers of lapsed or non-golfers who took up the sport during the pandemic continue to enjoy playing.”

Participation initiatives highlight health aspects

Additionally, the number of rounds played has also increased slightly. Compared to the previous year, six percent more rounds were played in 2022 and even almost a quarter more than in 2019 (24 percent). This was also helped by various campaigns, for example the “Golf is Good” participatory initiative in Wales. The R&A’s campaign, featuring ambassador Gareth Bale, successfully highlighted the health and wellbeing benefits of golf.

“The growth has been aided by the important work of golf bodies to drive participation initiatives and increase awareness of the benefits of the sport for physical and mental health, including our pilot health campaign in Wales last year,” Anderton said. “There remains significant interest in golf and while we recognise that there are economic challenges due to cost of living pressures, it is important for everyone involved to do their best to keep existing golfers in the sport.”

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