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Golf Participation in Scotland Continues to Grow

Scottish Golf’s 2021 annual report released at the governing body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 6, has shown that membership across the country had grown for the third year in a row.

Nine Scottish golf clubs saw memberships rise by more than 100% in the last year as new figures confirm the increase in golf participation. Club membership, which had been declining until 2019, saw an increase for the first time since 2015 before the figure rose again the following year.

The total playing membership of adults and juniors in Scotland’s 568 affiliated clubs rose by 7.3 per cent in 2021, taking the figure to over 207,000.


Writing in the annual report, Scottish Golf chair Martin Gilbert said: “It is testament to the popularity of golf that its resurgence has occurred during two of the most volatile and unpredictable years in recent history. We all thought we would be out of the pandemic woods by now, enjoying old freedoms and a return to some semblance of normality. We may have a little way to go, but hopefully the worst is behind us.”


Speaking to The Scotsman, Karin Sharp, Scottish Golf’s chief operating officer, said: “Looking back at 2021 is a reminder of how far we have come despite the challenges of a global pandemic. The achievements and resilience of Scotland’s clubs, golfers, volunteers and other associations connected with the sport over the last two years cannot be overstated.”


Scottish Golf’s Open Play membership scheme, launched in June 2021 and has attracted 1,215 members to date. Since being launched in November 2020, more than 2.1 million WHS scores have been submitted, with over 400,000 of those being general play scores.


“Our digital journey continues apace, and we expect record numbers to be logging general play scores through the Scottish Golf and OpenPlay apps throughout the year,” said Sharp. “The future of golf also seems bright: our most popular junior competition, GolfSixes, has seen very strong entry numbers this year, and further development of the National Junior Framework will make it easy for coaches and junior convenors to create engaging programmes for enthusiastic young golfers. 

“One of our most important core functions – providing support through services, education and funding to our affiliated clubs – remains a focal point. We are delighted to report that all our funds are already highly subscribed, so the direct financial support to clubs we will provide this year will exceed last year’s by some margin.”