The National Competition Rounds Report for 2018 states that more than 10.483 million rounds were recorded in 2018 by GolfLink, an increase of 182,366 rounds or 1.8 per cent over 2017.
Rounds increased at similar rates in regional and metropolitan areas amongst males and females.
Male golfers remain the dominant demographic, making up 82 per cent of rounds played with females comprising the remaining 18 per cent.
However, female rounds played increased by 1.9 per cent to 1,906,038 and male rounds grew by 1.7 per cent to 8,577,452.
Chairman of the Australian Golf Industry Council, Gavin Kirkman, said he was pleased with the overall figures in the report.
“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,” Kirkman said.
“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 per cent in 2018,” added Kirkman.
While the growth of nine-hole rounds is positive, nine-hole rounds comprised only 3.7 per cent of all competition rounds played.
“In a reflection of the time pressure on participation, 63 per cent 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 per cent of all rounds, had only 5.7 per cent of rounds played off handicaps of 10 or lower. For males with the remaining 82 per cent of all rounds, only 24.2 per cent were played off handicaps of 10 or lower."
Golf courses are being encouraged to promote more casual access to the game for more people, particularly younger females and males.
The report outlines the following ways to bring more young people to the game:
- 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
The Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) was established in 2006 as a group comprising all of the key bodies of the golf industry in Australia, designed to work together for the common good of the game and the industry.
The Council is made up of representatives from Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia, Australian Ladies Professional Golf, Australian Sporting Goods Association, Golf Management Australia, Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, Society of Australian Golf Course Architects and Public Golf Facilities Australia.
Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.