Data from Golf Australia and AusPlay show significant increase in golf participation

The 2020-21 Golf Club Attendance Report, prepared by Golf Business Advisory Services using Golf Australia’s combined club member attendance data and Sport Australia’s AusPlay data, reveals that there have been record growth in club attendance and total attendance, with a 6.4% increase in club membership. and a 21% (210,000) year-over-year increase in player numbers.

More than 24,000 new players joined golf clubs in 2020-21, with the 6.4% increase being the largest percentage increase recorded since data collection began in 1970, bringing the total number to 409 970.

Junior members also saw a significant increase, with 16% more children under the age of 18 joining their local club.

Data from AusPlay reveals that Australian golf’s vision of being a sport for all is gradually becoming a reality, with around 1,204,000 total golf participants playing rounds of 9 or 18 holes of golf over the 2020 period. -21.

This is supported by nine-hole round data from Golf Australia which has seen a growth of 20% with over 517,000 rounds played in 2020-21.

At the club level, Victoria has seen the largest increase in membership (up 8.9%) despite limited access to golf clubs during the ongoing pandemic, while all states have seen growth substantial. South Australia increased by 7.2%, WA by 7%, QLD by 6.4%, NSW by 4.8%, Tasmania by 4.6% and the Northern Territory by 0.5%.

Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the results were “monumentally encouraging for the game”, noting the results reversed the gradual decline in golfer numbers suffered between 2000 and 2019.

Sutherland notes that “our goal is simple – we want more Australians to play more golf. There are many different forms of golf, making it a truly accessible game for everyone.

“It’s fun, it can be played at any age and it has proven to be healthy. These are just a few of the factors driving this phenomenal growth.

“Interestingly, these latest numbers tell us that there are far more casual golfers who are not club members than club members. This suggests that we have a fantastic launch pad to continue to grow our sport and bring new people to our game. We want to continue to foster this by making the sport more accessible and creating more game options to ensure that the golf continues to be a sport for everyone.

Sutherland said the December launch of the Australian Golf Strategy – a strategic blueprint for the entire golf industry – highlighted participation as the single most important factor in the health of the industry at the ‘to come up.

“So many new people have come into the game lately, they need to be welcomed to stay in the game as we continue to innovate to attract more Australians.

“It will be vital for us to understand these newcomers – what they want will no longer be the same as in the past, and we need to recognize this and evolve to adapt to our new markets,” Sutherland said.

“Elite play is also hugely important in providing the role models our young golfers aspire to, and we are delighted to see some of Australia’s best players in action at the Vic Open this week at 13th Beach. It has been fantastic to see the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and WPGA Tour Australasia back in full swing this season and there is no doubt that the tour will play a big part in the 16% growth in junior members this year. .

Key findings of the report include:

  • Positive member movement was evident in all key market segments. Member Clubs and Social Clubs grew by around 6%, driven by a growth in the number of men of more than 7%. The number of juniors also experienced substantial growth, up 15% over the previous year.
  • All states except the Northern Territory experienced growth well ahead of recent trends. Despite long periods of class closures due to lockdown measures, Victoria recorded the strongest growth of 8.9%.
  • New members coming into our sport are younger than the broader age profile of club members, with 60% of new members under the age of 50. Among new members, 34% were between the ages of 15 and 34 in 2020-21, compared to 25% in 2019-20.
  • Female members represent 19% of all golfers.
  • The national attraction rate for new club members was 13%, with an attrition rate of 10%. Of all new golfers in 2020-21, 60% were under the age of 50, compared to 30% of current members.
  • The average age of club members in Australia is 56.9. The average for male members is 55.3 years and for female members is 64.3 years.
  • There were 11,769 million competitive rounds played in 2020-21, representing a 12% increase from 2019-20.
  • The report estimates the “total number of golf participants” at 1.204 million people, according to Ausplay, up 21% from the previous year.
  • Get Into Golf, the adult initiation program, recorded 313 clubs and facilities, including 224 active participants and 6,594 participants at 1,230 programs. Of the total participants, 5564 or 84% were women.

Full report here

Image: Hannah Green ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open 2019 at Royal Adelaide Golf Club. Credit Royal Adelaide Golf Club/ David Brand

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Michael C. Ford