A new report has shown that golf participation is on the rise in Ireland.
Findings obtained from the biennial Irish Sports Monitor report show that overall golf participation has an increased to 2.5% of the population compared to 2.3% in 2015.
This leaves golf as the seventh most popular sport in Ireland and ahead of Gaelic football and hurling.
Encouragingly, the number of women actively participating in the game has increased from 0.9% to 1.2%.
This announcement comes as it was recently advised that, since 2014, 4,600 have joined as introductory members of golf clubs via the CGI Get into Golf Programmes, 3,000 of which have been women and girls. Additionally, over 45,000 have sampled golf through CGI community and school awareness days.
A statistical analysis of participation commissioned in 2017 also noted that the physical activity provided by golf is likely to be highly beneficial, particularly among older people. Evidence suggests that golfers are stronger, have better balance and live longer than equivalent non-golfers.
Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of the Board of the CGI said: “These figures are a great boost for the game given the many efforts being made to increase participation in golf through the CGI Get into Golf Programmes. We continue to be fully committed to growing the game on the island of Ireland through recruitment and retention initiatives.”
Sinead Heraty, Chief Executive of the Irish Ladies Golf Union said: “It is very positive to see a narrowing of the gender gap regarding participation in sport. In particular, it is very encouraging that golf remains unchanged as the 7th most popular sport in Ireland and has achieved an increase in female participation since 2015.”
Meanwhile, the R&A has today announced a significant increase in competitive nine-hole scores being submitted.
England Golf has reported a 50% increase in nine hole competitive scores returned between 2014 and 2017 (70,127 to 105,254). Between 2016 and 2017, competitive nine hole club rounds by males increased by 17% (50,667 to 59,336) and 6% by females (43,314 to 45,918).
In Ireland, from 2016 to 2017, competitive nine hole club rounds by women and girls increased by 64% (18,753 to 30,803) and by over 200% by men and boys (2,370 to 7,250).
Wales Golf has reported a 28% increase in nine hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017 (12,201 to 15,671).
Scottish Golf has reported a 30% increase in nine hole competitive scores returned between 2016 and 2017 (30,021 to 39,107).