Covid has also led to a a golf boom in Australia

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 17, 2021 09:29

New figures on golf participation in Australia have shown a parallel with the UK – in which the pandemic has resulted in unprecedented growth.

Participation grew by more than two million in Great Britain in 2020 compared with 2019, and by 321,000 in Ireland.

Official statistics from AusPlay, the official survey of sporting participation conducted by Sport Australia, now show that 253,000 more adult Australians played golf in 2020 than in 2019.

This comes just two years after memberships in Australia had reached an all-time low of 383,000 and almost 100 golf clubs across the country were on the brink of financial collapse.

The figures also show that golf clubs are reporting a huge uptick in women and young people joining their ranks.

Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that golf club memberships were on track to increase by five percent.

“Rusted-on golfers are playing more, retired golfers have come back to the sport and new golfers have discovered it,” Sutherland said.

Public facilities and driving ranges have also been reporting a huge surge in activity since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Anyone who’s tried to book a tee time or turned up at an overflowing driving range in the last 12 months knows that there’s a big change happening in golf,” Sutherland said.

“To have a quarter of a million new golfers in 2020 is a fabulous thing for the game.

“All the numbers that we are seeing show big increases in participation since the Covid-19 pandemic began in Australia.

“Probably even more importantly, we view this as an opportunity that we haven’t really seen in 20 or 30 years.

“Golf Australia’s primary reason for being is to grow the game in this country. We want more people playing more golf – all ages, genders, socio-economic groups.

“So we’re about making sure that this is not just a spike caused by a pandemic.

“We are working hard to make it a sustainable growth period as we go forward.”

“Golf globally is booming, not just in Australia,” said Ravi Abeyaratne, marketing director of Drummond Golf.

“Factories are having trouble keeping up.

“And we’re finding a significant upturn in store sales and traffic.

“Whereas golf had been perceived as an older person’s sport, we are seeing more young people from diverse backgrounds and genders playing the game.

“We’re also seeing regular golfers playing more golf.

“My brother is captain of Peninsulal-Kingswood where they have two courses. The time sheets are filling up for the week within two hours of opening.”

AusPlay’s survey showed golf had by far the best result for organised sporting activities, with only tennis (185,000) showing a similar upward trend.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 17, 2021 09:29
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