€540m is spent on golf each year here, according to a report by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland. 

€379m of that total is spent in the Republic with the remaining €161m being spent in Northern Ireland. 

That figure includes money spent on equipment, membership fees and food and drink at clubs.

The survey showed that €94m is spent on club membership fees, €46m on food and drinks in clubs and €39m on golf equipment every year.

The confederation noted that the industry generates €93m in tax in the Republic alone each year. 

Consumer spend per adult golfer here is an average of €1,350 a year, according to the research which was carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

The sector also employs more than 9,000 people on the island, with more than 380,000 people playing at least once each year.

Meanwhile, golf participation rates in the Republic are higher than the UK as a whole with 7.9% of the Irish population taking part in golf on a yearly basis compared to 7.4% in the UK.

"Golf in the Republic of Ireland is more than just a sport," commented Professor Simon Shibli, author of today's report.

"Our research demonstrates that it makes a measurable contribution to the nation's economy and that golf clubs play an important role in the social fabric of their local communities," he added.

The Professor said that the current macro-economic conditions here present an "ideal opportunity" for the Irish golf industry to grow in future years.