Surging summer of golf in Australia
Australian golf has enjoyed a bumper summer with huge participation increases, according to figures released by the country’s governing body.
Golf Australia reported that the number of handicap rounds played jumped 12 percent year on year during the period of December, January and February, rising to 2.89 million.
That number did not include casual, non-handicapped rounds, which have also surged in popularity.
Golf Australia’s findings echo data from around the world showing a boom in golf participation since the start of the pandemic.
Encouragingly for the future of the sport in Australia, the biggest increases came among lower age groups, with a 54.5 percent rise in those aged 20-24, 49.8 percent in the 25-29s, and 30.2 percent in the 10-14s.
Female participation rose by 25 percent in New South Wales and Queensland, while there were 42,000 new club members across the country in the first 10 months of 2020.
GA’s Chief Executive, James Sutherland, says: “Golf is being seen for exactly what it is: a safe, outdoor, healthy and sociable way to spend time.
“Every bit of data that we’ve collected since the beginning of last year has reinforced what we’ve seen and heard anecdotally – that golf clubs and facilities were thriving again.
“Our job is to ensure these increases are a part of a long-term trend, and are not just a temporary spike. We are about continuing to build on the ground that has been made.
“It’s a game for everyone, and it’s a game for life.”
A new mini-golf reality show, Holey Moley, has also proved a hit, drawing 983,000 viewers on its opening night.
“We expected families and kids to embrace Holey Moley, but the public reaction went well beyond our expectations,” adds Sutherland.
“From the feedback I’ve seen come out of many mini-golf facilities around Australia, Holey Moley has inspired huge numbers of kids and younger adults to get a club in their hands and to give golf a go. That’s really exciting for anyone who loves our game.”
While the signs are very positive for golf in Australia – and around the world – will the sport be able to maintain the momentum once the pandemic eases?