Participation was strong as spring started

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 14, 2022 17:29

New figures for golf participation in the UK show that it was very strong as the golf season was starting.

The Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) ‘Rounds Played’ monitor for January, February and March 2022 show that both January and March saw the highest number of rounds played when compared with every year in the previous five, and February was second highest, only behind 2019.

The comparisons are complicated by the fact that most of the UK was in lockdown in January 2021, and all of it was in lockdown for some of March 2020.

However, comparisons with 2018 and 2019 give a good indication of golf’s current position of strength.

This shows that while there was a dip in rounds played in February 2022 compared with January, unlike in 2018 and 2019 which both saw month-on-month growth, there was major growth in the crucial month of March 2022, just as the season was getting ready to start.

There were 22 percent more rounds played in March 2022 than in March 2019, and nearly double the number of rounds played in March 2018.

In regional terms, the north was the first quarter’s best performer, up 27 percent against 2019. Other regions enjoyed strong performances, with only the Midlands not recording growth.

SMS’ director, Richard Payne, said: “Yet again the data indicates what we have seen throughout the pandemic, that golf is in a strong position. A lot of commentators expected the appetite to dwindle fast, but, knowing golf well, we were always confident and we are again delighted to see that the data keeps showing that the game has thrived since the pandemic began. Golf is delivering so many great benefits that people want from sport – access to fresh air and natural beauty, low impact healthy exercise, socialising and intergenerational play. It will be a real shame if rising living costs destabilise that in the months to come, forcing people to give up some of the things that keep them happy and healthy.”

Phil Anderton, chief development officer at The R&A, said: “It is very encouraging to see again the positive data for rounds played in Great Britain in the first quarter of 2022. This builds on previous insight which showed that golf was on the rise pre-pandemic and continues to be a sport attractive to golfers across all levels of the game – including the use of full-length courses, driving ranges and alternative golf venues. Golfers are enjoying the wonderful physical and mental health benefits the sport provides and taking up a wide range of participation initiatives on offer. It is vital for the sport to maintain this momentum.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 14, 2022 17:29
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