UK golf participation was second highest ever in 2022

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 8, 2023 12:50

Official figures from the four UK and Ireland golf unions has revealed that participation in 2022 was the second highest since recording began.

The data shows that 5.6 million adults played at least one nine or 18 hole round of golf in Great Britain or Ireland in 2022.

This was just below the record set in 2020 of 5.7 million – when participation saw an unprecedented boom due to the pandemic.

It was also a growth of 265,000 people from 2021, making it the second-highest number since monitoring began over 30 years ago.

The research, led by The R&A, together with England Golf, Golf Ireland, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf, shows golf participation is more than 50 percent above pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, 3.7 million adults played the game.

The figures show that 20 percent of adult golfers on full-length courses were female in 2022, compared to 15 percent in 2019.

This comes as Scottish Golf has revealed that memberships at Scottish clubs rose slightly in 2022, compared with 2021, when many predicted there would be a sharp fall following the boom in 2020 and 2021.

Phil Anderton, chief development officer at The R&A, said, “It is very positive to see the number of on-course adult golfers grow in Great Britain and Ireland last year. 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.

“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.

“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.”

In Great Britain, the average rounds played were also six percent up on 2021 and 2022 was 24 percent up on pre-Covid-19 in 2019. Rounds played per month for the full 12 months was the highest in 2022 of the last ten years.

Participation initiatives included ‘Golf is Good’, a new global project by The R&A piloted in Wales last summer in partnership with Wales Golf. Featuring R&A global ambassador Gareth Bale, it used recent scientific research to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of playing the sport through cutting-edge animation.

The campaign produced positive results with 65 percent of current golfers who had seen golf and health advertising playing more golf than usual in 2022, compared to 48 percent of current golfers who had not seen the advertising. Furthermore, 73 percent of current on-course golfers were likely to play more golf because of the campaign.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 8, 2023 12:50
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1 Comment

  1. Inrange® Golf March 14, 14:49

    Great to see the game growing!

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