TORONTO - Networking over a few rounds of golf used to be par for the course for Canada's business leaders. But time pressures and diminishing company budgets have posed challenges to the sport's growth. Some numbers:
On the fringe: There are approximately 5.7 million golfers in Canada, but the majority of rounds are being played by fewer than 26 per cent of golfers or 1.5 million people. The other 4.2 million golfers are considered to be on the fringe of the game.
Into the swing: The number of golf courses in Canada has grown to 2,346 this year, from 1,723 back in 1991.
Chipping away: There were 26,100 rounds played per course in 2013, down from 28,700 in 2008.
Hitting for par: There is no growth in the number of golfers. The number of people entering the game is equal to the number of people leaving the game — roughly 1,026,000 people.
Downswing: Fourteen per cent of golfers are playing more rounds, while 38 per cent are playing fewer rounds.
The back nine: Twenty-three per cent of today's golfers took up the game as a junior (someone between the ages of 12 to 17), while nine per cent of today's golfers have a junior that plays.
(Sources: The National Allied Golf Associations, Golf Canada)