An encouraging surge in golf membership signups among young new players looking for shorter games has emerged during the coronavirus lockdown, according to the managing director of Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate.
The West Sussex club, which reopened for play following golf's return during the lockdown last week, has seen a spike in memberships between the ages of 30 and 50.
Previously before the lockdown, claims the club's managing director Barry Anderson, the majority of the members were retired and in their 70s.
"This could be the start of a new type of engagement with golf after the lockdown ends," said Mr Anderson.
"Many members are planning to work from home, for two or three days a week.
"They have proved to themselves that they can take time out for a healthy leisure pursuit in the working week and still get their work done.
"We are getting dozens of new enquiries each day. The number of members at Mannings Heath halved just before the lockdown; we are on target to replace and surpass that number very quickly.
"With gyms, swimming pools and other indoor places to exercise still closed and no date for opening, many people are choosing golf. Starting at just £325 for an annual membership, it is great value in comparison to the alternatives.
"In addition to the course, members can use a driving range, putting green and tennis court - and then all the facilities of the clubhouse when the lockdown is finished, two bars and a dining room, with meeting rooms available too."
In a departure from golf tradition, sessions on golf courses must be booked in timeslots throughout the day, to ensure a safe social distance between groups.
Games can be played alone, with one person from a different household or up to three others from within a household group.
The new time-slots and rules of golf, such as keeping the flagstick in, are also helping to speed up the pace of play - another reason for increasing people's interest levels in the sport.
New players generally want to tee off at 6.30 am or 4.30 in the afternoon, to fit in a game around their working day.
At Mannings Heath, there is also an option of the 18-hole Waterfall international course and the 9-hole Kingfisher course, which further reduces time on the fairways.
Mr Anderson adds that there is a programme to attract young people to the sport, with Mannings Heath club staff visiting local schools and also offering weekend courses for children’s groups.
Membership is free of charge for children up to the age of 12, and priced at £50 for 13 to 17 years, on the Kingfisher course.
For more information please visit www.manningsheath.com