The pandemic has led to a surge in women’s golf

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 20, 2021 11:34

The male / female ratio in UK golf participation has changed exponentially for the first time, as female participation at UK golf courses more than tripled during the pandemic with nearly 1.5 million women playing at least one full round of golf in 2020.

The figures, from SMS, show that the total number of people who played a round of golf in the British Isles nearly doubled from 2.9 million to 5.2 million from 2019 to 2020. But of those, the number of women grew from just over 400,000 to 1.46 million, and from 14 percent of all golfers to 28 percent.

One of the biggest criticisms of golf for at least the last 20 years has been the gender ratio which, despite numerous initiatives, has been stuck in the UK at around 12 to 14 percent; that is about 86 to 88 percent of golfers in the UK have been male. However, that has now dramatically changed due to the pandemic, and is now 72:28, by far the biggest transformation in one year since records began.

Furthermore, 16 percent of the 5.2 million (more than 830,000 people) tried golf for the first time and 95 percent of them have said they will continue playing the game.

Speaking at Royal St George’s during the Open, John Bushell, managing director of SMS, said: “A quarter of female golfers who played on a full length course last year were new to the sport, and tried for the first time because of the pandemic.”

“The surge in female participation now leads us to a point where women introducing other women can start to play a greater role in golf’s future,” adds Richard Payne, director of SMS. “A virtuous circle where women are more likely to see and hear other women playing and talking about golf is much more plausible today than it was five years ago.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 20, 2021 11:34
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  1. Teesnap July 26, 09:55

    My 5 year old daughter is obsessed with golf. Started lessons in March. Our local course have a great kids program

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  2. KimM July 22, 10:11

    Great to read…. we still need a long term strategy for the retention of females in the game and to ensure the increase due to the pandemic is sustained. Fantastic to see the women’s game getting more parity with the men’s game

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  3. Pauline July 22, 06:53

    I joined fir the first time a month before COVID’s first lockdown. I now try and play 3 times a week . It’s been fantastic during lockdown and I am a true golf convert.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Peter July 20, 17:25

    Great to hear !! As I’ve said, many times, it’s keeping them that is the issue at many clubs ! Policies, programs and offerings that leave women wanting more often the culprit !!

    Reply to this comment
  5. freehandicaps July 20, 16:44

    Trying the game is great, converting to playing 20-40 times a year is the key number in sustaineded growth or just replacing injured and (hate to mention it but) dying golfers.

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