Golf participation is soaring around the continent, but the R&A and European Golf Association will not rest on their laurels

New research shows that golf participation across Europe is on the rise, with more than 10 million golfers now enjoying the game – a healthy increase of 2.7 million since 2016.

A report released by the R&A and European Golf Association, who collected data from the continent’s 49 national member federations, has revealed that, despite the pandemic, popularity for the game has continued to increase over the last two years, with 73 per cent of golf federations recording a growth in registered golfers.

Interestingly, the breakdown also revealed there are more independent golfers – 59 per cent – compared to 41 per cent who are a member of a golf club.

It also shows new golfers are enjoying positive experiences of the sport, highlighting the game’s ability to boost mental and physical health.

The most encouraging numbers came for golf in England, where the number of registered players is up by 63,500 since the last report. Some countries also recorded a growth of more than 150 per cent.

Another significant finding is the markets with the highest proportion of total golfers in the population, topped by include Iceland (17.7%), Scotland (10.9%), England (8%) and Ireland (7.8%).

The number of women and junior golfers has remained largely stable over the last two years, however, and the challenge now for the R&A and EGA will be to improve on these markets over the coming years.

The R&A’s chief development officer Phil Anderton said: “It is clear to see that a wide range of initiatives are having a positive impact and that golfers are enjoying the healthy benefits the sport provides.”

Michael Thannhäuser, general secretary of the EGA, added: “The role of national federations in this growth is vital and I applaud those who used the pandemic as an opportunity to promote golf as a safe and healthy sport.

“Although the report is very positive, there is no room for complacency when it comes to developing the sport and securing its future.”

You can read the full report on the R&A website.

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