Participation in golf in Ireland is on the rise according to the latest Irish Sports Monitor (ISM) report.
The report, a large population study undertaken biennially, provides trends in participation in sport and physical activity in Ireland, finds that 43% of the Irish population (approximately 1.6 million people) participate in sport at least once a week and this remains unchanged over the past two years.
However, overall golf participation has an increased to 2.5% of the population compared to 2.3% in 2015.
Even more specifically, the number of women actively participating in the game has increased from 0.9% to 1.2% making it the seventh most popular sport in Ireland ahead of Gaelic football and hurling/camogie.
A total of 3,000 women and girls have joined golf clubs as introductory members via the CGI Get into Golf Programmes since 2014.
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 seventh most popular sport in Ireland and has achieved an increase in female participation since 2015.”