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Golf’s post-pandemic boom has extended from the grassroots to some of the game’s professional tournaments.

Figures released today by the DP World Tour, Ladies European Tour and the R&A have shown that the biggest golf tournaments in Great Britain and Ireland experienced a strong surge in popularity in 2023 compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, as ticket sales and spectator numbers continue to rise.

The DP World Tour has enjoyed a 43% increase in its revenues for general admission and premium hospitality tickets for its tournaments in 2023, compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

For the tour’s four most historic events in GB&I specifically:

– The BMW PGA Championship saw general admission and premium hospitality ticket revenues increase by 41% in 2023 compared to 2019. A total number of 109,635 spectators attended the tournament this year, a 22% increase on 2022.

– The Genesis Scottish Open saw general admission and premium hospitality ticket revenues increase by 117% in 2023 compared to 2019. A total number of 72,517 spectators attended the tournament this year, a 5% increase on 2022.

– The Horizon Irish Open saw general admission and premium hospitality ticket revenues increase by 98% in 2023 compared to 2019. A total number of 70,672 spectators attended the tournament this year, a 13% increase on 2022.

– The Betfred British Masters hosted by Sir Nick Faldo saw general admission and premium hospitality ticket revenues increase by 8% in 2023 compared to 2019. A total of 47,073 spectators attended the tournament this year, compared to 49,787 in 2022.

– Attendance figures for all four tournaments stood at 299,897, an 11% increase on 2022.

Elsewhere, a total of 261,180 spectators attended The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool – the second highest attendance on record and a 30% increase on 2014 when the venue last hosted the championship. The battle for the Claret Jug has set record attendances at every venue since 2017, with all championship days sold out since 2019.

The AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath saw similar success. A total of 51,000 fans were in attendance during the week, up from 33,303 the previous year, showing a 53% increase. The spectator experience at the championship was enhanced by the launch of a new fan village and staging of a music concert by chart-topping musician Ellie Goulding.

The Ladies European Tour has also seen increases in spectator numbers for its events in GB&I this year. The KPMG Irish Open enjoyed an impressive 20% increase in spectator numbers in 2023 compared to 2022, and the Aramco Team Series in London saw a 12% increase this year compared to 2022. The FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open saw its spectator numbers reach 10,000 in 2023, a similar level to 2022.

This follows on from the continued rise in the number of people playing golf in GB&I. Data from the R&A, published in March 2023, shows golf participation sitting well above the rates in the years prior to the start of the pandemic. In 2019, there were 3.7 million on-course adult golfers in GB&I. By 2022, that had grown to 5.6 million – a 50% increase.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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