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Home SMS Data Reveals the Continued Growth of Golf in the UK

SMS Data Reveals the Continued Growth of Golf in the UK

Golf participation continues to rise across England, Scotland, and Wales according to Sports Marketing Survey’ latest research.

Sports Marketing Surveys’ on-going Rounds Played monitor shows that quarter one rounds played across Great Britain rose by 7% against pre-pandemic figures. The finding is the latest in a long line of statistics indicating the sustained rise in appeal of golf and follows the news that 4.8 million people played golf on a full-length course in Great Britain in 2021, the second highest figure on record.  

SMS Graph

Rounds played comparisons with Q1 2021 are asymmetrical because of widespread lockdowns and course closures in the first months of last year. The second half of March 2020 was also lost to the virus.

The growth against 2019 and 2018 is a better indication of golf’s current position of strength.

The major growth came in the month of March, which, as well as having the highest number of average rounds also recorded the fastest growth, seeing a 22% surge against 2019.

In regional terms, the North was Q1’s best performer, up 27% against 2019. Other regions enjoyed strong performances, with only the Midlands (-1%) not recording growth.

“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,” said Richard Payne, Director at SMS.

“Golf is delivering so many great benefits that people want from sport – access to fresh air and natural beauty, low impact healthy exercise, socialising, inter-generational 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,” he added.
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.”