It was an historic moment today for Australian golf as the industry’s milestone national strategy was launched following many months of collaboration and alignment.
Launched at the newly opened Australian Golf Centre in Melbourne, the Australian Golf Strategy is said to provide a roadmap for the game at all levels for the foreseeable future, flagging “an ambition to grow golf as efficiently, collaboratively and sustainably as possible”.
Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland said: “This national strategy gives golf in Australia a strong sense of direction. It has allowed us to collectively lift our eyes to golf’s enormous potential as a sport for all.
“We share the industry’s excitement about the opportunities ahead – and commit to serving Australian Golf and its millions of golfers.
“The positive appetite for change has been overwhelming and I’m proud to be standing here today representing not Golf Australia but Australian Golf in this industry first.”
Acknowledging the sport was perceived by many as expensive and not inclusive, WPGA Tour of Australasia CEO Karen Lunn said the Strategy was “designed to challenge this perception and change this reality”.
“Golf needs to commit to making all clubs and facilities a welcoming environment,” Lunn added.
“We need to embrace all formats of golf as golf and enable more people to play more often in ways that suit their lifestyle and interests.
“There is a clear opportunity to better service our members, attract newcomers and to make the game more appealing to women, children and families. It’s affordable, it’s accessible and it’s fun, but we know that’s not how its perceived, and we are determined to change that.”
CEO PGA of Australia, Gavin Kirkman said the strategy provided guidance on the industry’s aspiration for customer experience that drives enjoyment through playing and being involved in golf.
“We all have a role to play in this – golf club managers and staff, PGA professionals, volunteer administrators, and others employed in the industry,” Kirkman said.
“We want all those that play our great game, no matter of their ability or the preferred format they choose to play, to have fun and keep coming back for more.“
Kirkman noted significant growth in the sport through the global pandemic was not something to be taken for granted.
“While Australian golf has seen a material spike in interest and participation through Covid-19, after a 20-year downturn, the industry is not shying from the fact that issues remain and need to be addressed to ensure the growth experienced is sustained,“ said Kirkman.
“Golf has such a great story to tell but needs to get better at telling it. It’s a game that can be played by anyone, at any age, in any format. Growing the game is key to golf’s success and working together is the only way we will do that.”
Kirkman also noted a need to focus on aggregating and packaging key tournaments to help showcase the game in new ways.
“From Karis Davidson to Min Woo Lee and Cam Smith, our competitive golfers come from all walks of life and genuinely reflect the diversity and accessibility of our sport.”
More than 10,000 people were consulted in the development of the strategy, including golfers, club representatives, PGA Members, industry partners, public, government, equipment suppliers and industry experts in a series of webinars, meetings and surveys.