Golf Australia: Is golf on the way back?

Figures released by Golf Australia last week tend to suggest a slump in golf memberships around this country has slowed to little more than a trickle.

And if the figures are to be believed, the number of golf rounds is actually on the increase in the past 12 months or so.

Stephen Pitt Golf Australia CEO – Stephen Pitt

Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt suggested golf in Australia was no different to the rest of the world in that numbers had been “waning”.

Now that trend appears to be changing, although the challenge to get more women playing the game and arrest an annual attrition rate in golf memberships was still one of their major goals.

Pitt said the main points to arise from Golf Australia’s 2014 National Golf Participation Report included:

  • National club membership for the year ending 2014 was at 397,234, a reduction of 0.7 per cent on the previous year. In actual numbers, that represented a decline of about 3200 members;
  • Rounds of golf increased by 7.2 per cent in 2014 to 14.3 million;
  • There had been a cumulative loss of 7.2 per cent of club members since 2010. While the 2014 report continued the downward trend, it was a lower reduction than in 2011, 2012 and 2013;
  • Western Australia was the strongest performing state in 2014 with an increase of 2.2 percent, while Victoria and South Australia recorded small increases; New South Wales dropped 2.4 per cent while Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania also experienced declines;
  • The attrition rate of club members was around 12 per cent.

Pitt said the participation report was an important tool for Golf Australia as it showed how the game was tracking and identified areas where more research was required.

“We have seen almost five years of a downward trend and hopefully, soon, the graph points upward again,” said Pitt.

“Another positive is that 38 per cent of new members are in the age bracket 25 to 44 years, which typically is a difficult demographic for us to connect with.”

“Against that, only 17 per cent of those new members are female, below the national average of 21 per cent.”

“We would like to grow that figure.”