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Nine million Australians interested in Golf suggests huge potential to grow the game

Nine million Australians interested in Golf suggests huge potential to grow the game
October 12, 2021

The Australian Golf Industry Council has today released in the Nature Report,  the most comprehensive findings on the golf industry which shows nine million Australians are ‘interested’ in golf of which less than 5% are members.

AGIC Chair and PGA Chief Executive, Gavin Kirkman, said the findings of the independent report were already being used in the development of the National Golf Strategy to be launched in December as an industry template for the future.

Some of the other key findings include:

  • Golf is well positioned to take advantage of a phenomenal growth in activity during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • 5.8 million of those Aussies interested in golf have not yet played a game (54 percent male and 46 percent female)
  • There are 1.645 million players of ‘alternative’ forms of golf, including 295,000 categorised as ‘ball-hitters’
  • Many children (an estimated 1.140 million) are interested in playing alternative forms of golf, second-only to swimming among organised sports
  • Golf is considered fun, accessible, a game for life and good for mental and physical health
  • Engaging women and girls remains its greatest challenge though there have been recent increases in female participation. Engaging youth is another challenge
  • Shorter forms of the game and improved public facilities hold a key to the future. 

Golf Australia Chief Executive, James Sutherland said the eye-opener from the research was its top line of nine million people ‘interested’ in golf, including members, round players, ball hitters and alternative formats and many who are yet to pick up a club.

Sutherland advised “those numbers turn everything we’ve been doing on its head. If only five percent of ‘golf people’ are members, the potential for the growth of the game is huge, and certainly more substantial than we’ve ever realised, if we get it right.

“Golf’s resurgence over the past couple of years, both in Australia and globally, is evidence of a new opportunity for golf that will see the game continue to grow and evolve for decades to come. We anticipate continued growth and the National Strategy addresses the findings of this report which can only be good for golfers, old and new."

Kirkman said the report showed that finding an entry point for golfers would be critical to the game’s future and noted “we know golf is a game that can be played by anyone at any age, it’s fun, it’s enjoyable and it’s good for your health.

“We need to ensure golf, in its many formats, is in the consideration set particularly for women and juniors. 

“Availability of different entry points so people can find their way into the game is key.”

Kirkman added “whether it’s at a golf club or mini golf facility, a driving range, or a simulator experience shouldn’t matter – all golf is golf. We know how sticky it is once someone has caught the golf bug, but we need to clear the path so they can find that start.

“Many want a more relaxed and a less regulated entry point to the sport, a golfing experience less focused on competition, no harsh clothing rules. People want to experience the game in a way that makes them feel welcome and included, regardless of skill or regularity of play.

“We need to continue to wrap our arms around members while putting out the welcome mat for newcomers to the game, to connect with everyone who wants to play. We’ve been solely focused on club players, but we’ll be stronger as a sport if we embrace other golfers too."

Nature director Paddy Cain said the research was particularly instructive when it came to formats that are popular in the modern context.

“Golf, in all its various formats (from traditional through to Holey Moley and mini-golf), is uniquely positioned to benefit from post-pandemic demand.

“Golf is known to enhance mental and physical wellbeing and social connection – all increasingly important in these times. Just less than three million people have played alternative golf formats recently, but have not played traditional golf. Considering these numbers, there is no sport in Australia that has higher adult participation."

The Nature report can be read in full here.

The AGIC consists of:

  • Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA)
  • Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA)
  • Golf Australia (GA)
  • Golf Management Australia (GMA)
  • Golf NSW
  • Golf WA
  • PGA of Australia (PGA)
  • Public Golf Facilities Australia (PGFA)
  • Society of Australian Golf Course Architects (SAGCA)
  • Women’s Professional Golfers Association Tour of Australasia (WPGA)

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17th September 2021 - Australian Golf Foundation continues its Junior Girls Scholarship program for a second year

16th September 2021 - Golf New Zealand supports inaugural Leadership Award for women

8th September 2021 - Two Melbourne golf courses introduce vaccination policy

10th August 2021 - Golf industry veteran looks to grow the game in new role

18th July 2021 - Royal Queensland Golf Club confirmed as chosen host venue if Brisbane secures 2032 Olympics

12th July 2021 - Outback Queensland Masters attracts record number of amateur golfers

9th July 2021 - Golf ball recycling initiative supported by Australian Golf Industry Council

29th June 2021 - Golf Australia confirms Australian Open will be played in Sydney in 2021

9th June 2021 - PGA of Australia and Golf Australia develop new pathway for elite amateurs

21st April 2021 - Golf Australia releases new Handicap App

13th March 2021 - Golf Australia highlight golf’s summer boom

12th March 2021 - New indoor golf centre opens in Perth

24th February 2021 - SPORTFIVE launches new global golf strategy

3rd December 2020 - Golf Australia adds inclusive events to its national schedule

23rd July 2019 - Cricket Australia exposed for exaggerating participation figures

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