Recreational golfing is seeing a surge in Canada
Recreational golf is making a comeback, even as amateur and professional championships have had to be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After three months of decline, June saw a 17% increase in the number of players registering scores with Golf Canada, the national body that oversees the sport. A total of 1,483,506 rounds were shared with Golf Canada’s handicap calculator last month, compared with the 1,271,782 rounds counted in June 2019.
“It was a pretty big jump from last year,” Adam Helmer, the senior director of golf services for Golf Canada, told the Canadian Press. “We were expecting that, as golf has emerged as one of the safest activities, where people can be physically distant and we’ve reduced touchpoints.”
Restrictions on the sport began lifting in provinces throughout May. From May 1 to May 15, 165,026 rounds were registered with the body, and 265,480 more were registered in the remainder of the month.
“We’ve heard anecdotally that a lot of newcomers have joined the sport. Especially now that school is done, we’re going to see an increase in juniors, too. We think the trend is going to continue,” Helmer said.
“Golf has seen a pretty big lift and it’s emerged as the sport of the summer.”
Nevertheless, professional and amateur tournaments have been hard hit by the pandemic. The professional championship for men set for early June, the RBC Canadian Open, was cancellated on April 16. The women’s professional championships at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club set for early September were postponed to the following year on June 30.
On June 15, Golf Canada announced the closure of all amature championships for the 2020 season. Many junior championships have also been cancelled, including the the 7th annual World Junior Girls Championship originally scheduled to take place from September 30 to October 3 in Markham, ON.