Home' Australian Golf Digest : August 2017 Contents 96 australiangolfdigest.com.au | august 2017
They like the environmental element,” says
Blunden. “But from time to time, hard
decisions are going to be made. And if you
don’t own your land, well then you’re really
What golf’s stakeholders can do is be
ready for any government review of land
usage; and to clearly and eloquently state
the case for golf. The two largest state
associations have woken up to this point.
In June, Golf Victoria released a report
that quantified in dollar terms what golf
brings to its state through business, tourism
and health. It said golf was played by more
than 300,000 Victorians and makes an
$849 million contribution to the economy,
supporting 6,900 jobs.
Golf NSW is preparing a similar report
on the financial, economic, social and
health benefits. However, it will extend into
the amount of money that clubs raise for
charity. The intention is to build up a bank
of information to prosecute the case why
golf courses are important and shouldn’t be
THE FIGHT AHEAD
Australian Golf Digest’s biennial
Top 100 ranking is focused on the more
appealing golf courses across the continent.
But that’s not to say we look down upon
the unfashionable municipal and rural
courses that would never pass muster in a
veritable beauty contest. On the contrary,
we acknowledge the important role that
public-access facilities play by allowing
social golfers the opportunity to learn and
master the game.
It would hurt the golf industry if public-
access courses were to disappear. Fewer
golf courses would inevitably mean the
sport becomes more expensive. That would
lead to fewer people taking up the game.
As a result, equipment manufacturers
will have fewer consumers from which to
sell products and, consequently, smaller
marketing budgets to promote their brands.
Golf publications – print and digital – will
have fewer advertisements and therefore
less editorial content to entertain readers.
Soccer mums who have never touched
a golf club are unlikely to lose any sleep if
golf were to suffer. They’re happy so long
as little Johnny or Jilly has a safe place to
play with all the other little kiddies on a
It’s startling to think that golf may have
to cede territory to a sport like soccer.
Throughout the 20th century, the pioneers
of Australian golf showed great foresight
to discover suitable land across our capital
cities on which to build golf courses.
For the better part of last century, the
soccer community was engaged in proxy
wars where century-old ethnic tensions
were allowed to fester and boil over on
the football pitch: Italians vs Croatians vs
Greeks vs Macedonians vs Hungarians vs
Maltese. You only had to follow the National
Soccer League to realise that local football
was a basket case.
Golf’s governing bodies must
acknowledge a big Australia will impact the
scale of golf. Golf Australia can blow its own
trumpet about ‘Grow The Game’ initiatives.
But if there are fewer public-access courses
for beginners to learn the game, then we can
forget about growing the sport.
As sad as it may sound, golf’s stakeholders
must consider how to make the most
of fewer facilities. So when a club like
Parramatta closes, it’s incumbent upon Golf
NSW to lobby government for some sort
of compensation that should go towards
improving neighbouring clubs such as
Cumberland, Fox Hills and Stonecutters
Ridge where many of the Parramatta
members have relocated.
Golf is a hard sell when only six per cent
of the population play the game and just two
per cent are club members. But golf needs
somebody fighting at the coalface.
And it has to come from the stakeholders
given the shots already fired by local
councils. John Hopkins and the board of
Golf Australia need to be up for the fight of
their lives. So do the state associations as
well as the PGA of Australia. If they’re not,
then please go ... go for the sake of the sport.
Because the game of golf is at war. And
this war has just begun.
If there are fewer public-access courses for
beginners to learn the game, then we can forget
about growing the sport
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088-097_AGD0817_War on Golf.indd 96
5/07/2017 1:57 pm
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