Global Edition

COVID shakes up golf demographics in Asia

9.52am 29th October 2021 - Management Topics

Across the 9 Asian markets surveyed as part of Sports Marketing Surveys’ new Asian Playing Habits research, 3% of all golfers have started playing in the last year. A further 6% started playing between one and two years ago, a timeframe which would fit with the first cases and lockdowns across the continent.

Perhaps even more meaningfully, a quarter of those newest golfers – those who have started playing in the last year – are women. Over half of the newest golfers are aged 40 or under.

Despite increased success in amateur and professional golf and at times dominance on the LPGA Tour, at grassroots level, golf has been a male dominated pastime in this part of the world. Of the nine markets surveyed, only Singapore and Taiwan reported females making up more than 20% of golfers.

As for age, in the two most established golfing markets in the study, Japan and South Korea, only 19% of responding golfers were aged 40 or younger. Global consumer polling has long indicated that gen Z and millennials are more fitness conscious than their parents, a preference that manifests in many aspects of their lifestyle, including smoking, drinking and nutrition. There is no reason why golf shouldn’t become a means of boosting physical and mental fitness for a much wider section of these age groups.

On both measures, the new golfer findings would suggest a narrowing of gender and age disparity, boding well for the future of golf in Asia.

Eric Lynge, Sports Marketing Surveys’ Special Advisor for Asia, reflected on the results, saying: “While any new golfers coming into the game is cause for celebration, it’s particularly gratifying to see more women and young people taking part. This is of course vital for the long-term health of the sport. In the short term too there are clear benefits to diversifying the player base, not least that these are demographics that advertisers and partners are keen to appeal to. Having more of these people in the game makes golf more valuable as well as more vibrant and diverse.

“Covid had a twin effect of reducing available leisure activities while also reminding these groups and others of the value of fresh air, exercise and social connection. Golf is a brilliant way of achieving all of those things, and it’s exciting to think that there is still so much room for growth in the future.”

Download the report free of charge The Asian Playing Habits report includes an overview of individual markets.

To find out how research can help you unlock Asia’s sports and leisure markets, please contact


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