Most golf clubs in Australia are in financial trouble

Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham November 18, 2014 11:04

Worrying new research on the state of the golf industry in Australia has found that the majority of golf clubs in the country are now in financial trouble.

kangaroo simon starr

Image by Simon Starr

Golf clubs in traditional markets, especially the UK and USA, have struggled through the last few years, although the Republic of Ireland had appeared to post the worst economic data as the value of many facilities had plummeted between about 2006 and 2009.

However, new work by Golf Australia details that Australia may be the worst hit country in the world in terms of the golf industry, and that more than one in two golf clubs are suffering some form of financial stress.

Golf Australia director of golf development, Cameron Wade, said: “Our research tells us that at least 50 per cent of the 1,600 golf clubs in Australia are currently under some level of financial distress.

“Clubs are now facing a number of challenges where consumers are time-poor and have an increasing number of other recreational pursuit options.

“Therefore it is vital that we lead initiatives to assist clubs and provide opportunities for them to improve their business and adapt in a very competitive sporting market.”

Golf Australia has therefore launched ‘Club Support’, a ‘club knowledge and resource centre’ which has the aim to ‘prove the capability, financial performance and sustainability of all clubs; to ensure that they thrive into the future’. It does this via health checks and benckmarking.

Golf Australia aims to have as many clubs as possible utilising Club Support and sharing case studies.

Wade added: “The resources have been developed through harnessing the knowledge and expertise of the entire golf industry which is very powerful. We are confident that the resources can provide real benefits to any golf club in Australia.”

He added that local golf associations will also be providing dedicated club support personnel who will be available to assist clubs in improving their operations.

Stephen Pitt, Golf Australia’s chief executive, said the development of the portal was important for the health of the game.

“Club health is a critical part of Golf Australia’s planning and also of our member states. For the good of Australian golf we need to help the clubs through the challenges that are confronting them. Whatever we can do in terms of governance and with the business of running golf clubs is very important.’’


Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham November 18, 2014 11:04
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  1. Bob Braban November 25, 20:51

    There’s a lot in what James says, but it is going to be an increasingly difficult problem to crack. The difficulty is that a lot of the very slow players are the youngsters who spend an inordinate amount of time on routines copied from the professionals they watch on TV. A minute a shot is not unusual, particularly on the putting green where the putt is often viewed from every angle, sometimes more than once! Even if just 20 seconds is added to every shot in the average round you are adding half an hour or more. I could offer solutions to most management problems, but this is a player problem and they are difficult to influence. Only pressure from other players can solve this one.

    Bob Braban

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  2. James Cairns November 25, 17:03

    In my opinion the main reason for the decline on the popularity of golf is the time it takes to play a round these days. People, especially the younger ones with families, are just not prepared to spend their valuable spare time out on the golf course for 4.5 to 5 hours; and until the powers-that-be do something about THAT, the decline will continue. In my playing days if you took 3.5 hours for a round you were considered a slow player!

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