Three years after the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been a surge in the popularity of golf within the 18-24 age demographic.
The 2020s have seen a surge in popularity for golf within the 18-24 age bracket. Whilst Covid-19 has likely had an effect on this, as golf courses and driving ranges were some of the earlier public spaces to re-open with Covid restrictions, there are definitely other reasons why golf has become more popular within this age demographic.
After each lockdown, golf courses and driving ranges were one of the first public spaces to be reopened, with social distancing rules still in place. Naturally, many young people who had not seen their friends during the numerous lockdowns found themselves picking up a golf club and playing nine or 18 holes, or even simply taking a swing at the driving range. I also followed this trend, despite only ever picking up a golf club prior to 2020 when my parents took me to a driving range as a child just to try it out. Furthermore, many young people picked up the sport as a result of lockdown restrictions and have been playing the sport since.
Golfing participation on adult golf courses nearly doubled from 2017 to 2021. Whilst statistics have shown that participation in adult golfing peaked in 2020, the number of people in the UK who now regularly play golf is high, including the growth of female participation in the sport. According to the 2021 Great Britain Golf Participation Report, the average age of an adult golfer is 41. Yet, people aged between 18-24 were the most likely to pay to play, whether that be on the course or at the driving range.
University of Glasgow student Shona Cumming, started going to the driving range with her friends and said: “In my spare time I enjoy playing badminton and practicing yoga, however, more recently I have taken an interest in golf. Golf perfectly combines my love for spending time outdoors with the technical and competitive nature of sport. Golf is social as well as scenic which is why I think it appeals to so many people.” With a number of beautiful golf courses throughout the UK, playing golf is definitely a great excuse for a weekend away with friends or family.
The commercialisation of golf may also be a contributing factor. Mini golf courses and rooftop driving ranges, such as Topgolf just outside of Glasgow, have a sociable appeal. Topgolf, for example, has golf games for all skills and levels, a party venue, a sports bar, and a restaurant. Whether visitors attend venues like Topgolf for the views of a city or the thrill of hitting a golf ball ten stories high in the air, there’s a clear sociable element involved.
Golf is one of the few sports as well which is both competitive and good for your cardiovascular system, while not being too strenuous. A fantastically sociable sport, it can be played across the UK and many parts of the world. Post-pandemic levels in golf have been sustained and much of that is down to how pleasant the sport is and the scenic settings of many golf courses. Furthermore, because golf is a sport that does not require the same cardiovascular intensity as other sports, this may appeal to people more than other sports.
The surge and sustained interest of 18-24 year-olds in golf since 2020 has had a positive impact on golf courses and golf equipment stores. It has meant that the UK golfing sector has an estimated market size of £2bn.