Golf in Australia is experiencing a pandemic-inspired boom, a new industry report has confirmed.
In its just released Australian Golf Rounds – Trends and Impacts of Covid-19 study, Golf Australia confirms that despite parts of Victorian golf being shuttered for extended periods of 2020 (as well as various length disruptions in other states), year-to-date rounds played nationally are down only 1 per cent by the end of August.
If Victoria is removed from the data, that figure has actually surged to a four per cent gain.
Importantly for the industry and its future, rounds played by people in the 20-49 age range have skyrocketed in the past four months.
Since the “first wave” of Covid-19 restrictions in April, demand in that cohort has climbed by 44 per cent, meaning a total 22 per cent lift on 2019.
Golf Australia’s general manager of golf development David Gallichio was cautiously optimistic about the findings, compiled by Golf Business Advisory Services.
“Obviously 2020 has been full of extraordinary challenges that we wish nobody had to confront,” he said.
“But given the problems we’ve all faced, it’s very pleasing for so many clubs around Australia to see some positive news.
“More importantly, it gives us data and an opportunity as an industry to reset our focus towards ensuring we capitalise when things `normalise’.
“It’s no secret that clubs around Australia have sought younger members for years now, so if we can convert this surge in interest into meaningful long-term numbers for our clubs and facilities, then that’s a blessing, albeit in a heavy disguise.
“It is important to note that our clubs and facilities in Victoria have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, with golf in metropolitan Melbourne still shut down.
“While there are some positives across the country, our clubs/facilities in Victoria will need significant assistance moving forward to ensure that the good results we have seen elsewhere can be replicated and built upon in Victoria.”
Among the report’s findings, the month-to-month figures had been slightly down to start 2020 than in 2019. That figure then compounded when the initial wave of closures was experienced nationally in April, dropping rounds played by an alarming 16 per cent.
But since the first Covid-19 wave, all markets have enjoyed a material bounce with both male and female demand up by 21 per cent since.
Metropolitan markets are 27 per cent up, while regional numbers are up 17 per cent in comparison to 2019.