For the fourth successive year in which the Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) has prepared a competition rounds played report, the total of single handicapped rounds reported to GolfLink rose substantially.
There were almost 300,000 more rounds played in the year ending December, 2016 than there were in 2015, with the 14,850,426 total representing a 2.1 per cent national increase.
All states bar South Australia and Tasmania recorded increases, with Queensland the chart-topper with a 5.4 per cent surge. The Northern Territory (3.2 per cent) and New South Wales (3.0 per cent) also recorded impressive increases.
The results enthused AGIC chairman Stephen Pitt. He said: “It’s great that we have seen sustained growth now for the four years in which AGIC has prepared this report and it’s a great tribute to the work the clubs have put in during that time and the enduring popularity of the sport.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see that the growth hasn’t been in one spurt because we are ideally working towards more sustainability and long-term improvement throughout the sport.”
There was also a 0.5 per cent increase in the number of competition rounds played by women and a 2.5 per cent rise in men’s rounds.
“Overall that percentage of women’s rounds at 17.7 per cent is something we’d like to see improve,” Pitt said. “We are delighted that more rounds were played by women, but we’d like to see it rise as a percentage of the overall picture.”
Brisbane (6.8 per cent), Sydney (3.4 per cent) and Melbourne (1.4 per cent) drove a 1.2 per cent overall rise in the number of rounds played in metropolitan Australia.
But a larger surge came from a 2.8 per cent increase in the number of competition rounds played in regional Australia. Overall, 8,367,558 rounds were played outside the five key metropolitan centres, or 56.3 per cent of all rounds played.
The AGIC report states that all states bar Queensland suffered through the winter months with some of the wettest winters on record a key factor through much of the country.
But huge surges in rounds played in November and December were the keys to a 4.4 per cent boost in overall final quarter data.