Golf participation in Great Britain and Ireland for 2022 was up more than 50% on pre-pandemic levels, research led by the R&A has found.
There were 5.6m adult golfers playing either nine or 18 holes last year, the second highest figure recorded in more than 30 years of monitoring.
In 2019, the equivalent figure was 3.7m, this growing to 5.7m in 2020 and 5.3m the following year.
The data found 20% of adult golfers in 2022 were female, up from 15% in 2019.
Phil Anderton, chief development officer at The R&A, said initiatives to increase participation and also raise awareness of the “benefits of the sport for physical and mental health” had driven growth.
“It is very positive to see the number of on-course adult golfers grow in Great Britain and Ireland last year,” he said.
The research, produced in conjunction with the governing bodies for amateur golf in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, acknowledged that the sport’s popularity grew during the pandemic as people took advantage of an outdoor activity that could be undertaken safely.
Anderton added: “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.
“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.”