New Study Reveals UK Golf Participation Figures For 2022

Recent newcomers to the game amid the Covid-19 pandemic remain engaged, according to SMS data

Four golfers playing golf
(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

Golf’s popularity remains in a strong position compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new study into participation figures.

The latest quarterly report by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) shows the number of rounds played in Great Britain in Q2 is up 19% compared to the same period in 2019, highlighting that newcomers are still engaged. 

It is worth noting that that figure is down 9% compared to Q2 data from 2021, but thanks to a strong Q1, rounds played in Great Britain are up 24% in 2022 compared to the first half of last year. 

In addition, rounds played in April and May were the highest they have been in the last five years, excluding 2021. Regionally, the North was once again the top performer, with Q2 data down just 1% year-on-year and up 51% compared to 2019.

Here's a full breakdown of the rounds played from 2018 to 2022:

A graph showing the average rounds of golf played from 2018 to 2022


(Image credit: Sports Marketing Surveys)

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To temper expectations going forward, it is expected the cost of living crisis will have a negative impact on the golf industry for the remainder of the year and beyond.

"We do expect growth against 2021 to continue to slow in the second half of the year," cautioned Richard Payne, director of SMS. "Q2 2021 was an exceptional time, with the release from lockdown but still widespread working from home. 

"We also expect the cost of living crisis to have an effect on leisure spend, in golf and other sports. This is likely to affect visitor rounds and equipment sales first, with many having already paid memberships for the rest of 2022, but there will undoubtedly be pressure on renewals in the coming months. 

"So, whether rounds played can remain above 2019 is, in our view, one of the key metrics to look out for over the next six months and into 2023."

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1