Melbourne, Australia: The National Competition Rounds Report for 2018 has been released by the Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC).
More than 10.43 million rounds were recorded in 2018 by GolfLink, an increase of 182,388 rounds or 1.8% over 2017.
Rounds increased at similar rates in regional and metropolitan areas among males and females.
Gavin Kirkman, Chairman of the AGIC, said: “We know from the myriad of ways that people participate in our sport, holding a handicap and entering in club competitions is a huge part of the Australian golfing culture. To see this this grow is a healthy sign for golf.
“We’re very aware the impact of time pressure on society, affecting not only participation in golf but all traditional sports.
“With recent changes to the Rules of Golf to make rules easier to understand and adjustments to the World Handicapping System to increase flexibility, golf is seeking to become more accessible and in tune with the way modern sport is played.
“With the industry’s promotion of nine-hole golf, it’s encouraging to see nine-hole rounds increase 14.7% in 2018.
“In a reflection of the time pressure on participation, 63% of all rounds were played by golfers aged 60 and above. As well, it is perhaps no surprise that the majority of golf is played by mid-to-high handicap players and clubs should consider this in their course set-ups.
“Females who made up 18% of all rounds, had only 5.7% of rounds played off handicaps of 10 or lower. For males with the remaining 82% of all rounds, only 24.2% were played off handicaps of 10 or lower.”
Golf courses are encouraged to promote more casual access to the game for more people, particularly younger females and males. There are many ways a facility can do this:
- Reserve course times to suit casual players
- Provide equipment for new starters
- Shorten the holes with forward tees
- Relax the dress code and the use of social media
- Take the emphasis off scoring, competing and rules.