Virtual golf community for under-18s
A virtual golf community has been launched for Australians aged 18 and under, offering flexible and affordable opportunities to play.
TeeMates is a new initiative from Golf Australia, giving young players the chance to join and play for $5 at a selection of courses across the country, take part in events with friends and gain an official GA handicap.
It was set up in partnership with American non-profit Youth on Course after research found that less than four percent of Australian children who play golf are members of a club.
The National Golf Foundation’s study into Australian golf participation revealed that more than 650,000 children played a form of golf in 2021-22, but only 16,241 (3.8%) of Australia’s total club membership of 426,384 were juniors.
David Gallichio, General Manager of Golf Participation at Golf Australia, said: “TeeMates will play an important role in engaging Australia’s youth in a highly competitive sports participation landscape.
“We want kids across the country playing golf. Our goal is to create hundreds of thousands of life-long golfers – but in order to achieve this, we’ve identified the need to deliver a tailored product that allows kids to access the benefits of golf flexibly and at an affordable price point.”
A second phase is planned to include access to play at mini golf facilities, driving ranges and golf simulators.
Adam Heieck, Chief Executive Officer of Youth on Course, said: “Providing the opportunity for young people in Australia to play golf for $5 or less is something that is tremendously exciting to us, and I thank the team at GA for sharing our vision to provide access to the sport for the next generation of golfers.”
Initially, there will be 30 Youth on Course facilities spread over each Australian state and territory, and a calendar of events for TeeMates members to access.
TeeMates memberships will start from $49 annually and subscriptions will be shared with host clubs and PGA Professionals supporting the initiative.
Equipment manufacturer US Kids Golf has agreed to provide a $30 (USD) voucher to all TeeMates when joining their local US Kids Golf Tour or when participating at a US Kids Golf event.