While tourism and leisure activities have been hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, the number of golf course visitors in the Chugoku region has been growing steadily.

The total number of visitors to the 109 golf courses in the five prefectures that make up the region — Hiroshima, Okayama, Tottori, Shimane and Yamaguchi — reached 288,896 in February this year, the highest February figure in the past decade. The number further rose to 371,632 the following month, exceeding 370,000 in March for the first time since 2013, when there were 126 golf courses.

The increase reflects a growing interest in outdoor sports, which can be enjoyed while avoiding the "three Cs" — closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places and close-contact settings. Also at play is an increase in the number of young people who enjoy playing golf.