Australia is about to witness its first GOLF MONTH, an exciting new participation event that has transitioned from the previous year’s Playgolf WEEK.
With industry support from key stakeholders such as the PGA, ALPG and all state and territory associations, the event will see October host many exciting activities for new, returning and existing golfers to get involved.
Playgolf WEEK began two years ago in South Australia as a pilot program and was picked up nationally in 2014. More than 7,000 people participated in events run throughout the country in November last year, but this year a month of golfing activities will allow greater flexibility for facilities to participate in the concept.
Hence GOLF MONTH becomes part of our overall strategy for growing the game in this country.
Participation is an ongoing focus area for us, and the numbers indicate the struggle to hold our ground. For the year ending 2014 national club membership was at 397,234, down 0.7 on the previous year, as I noted in the last issue of Inside Golf. But the better news was twofold: rounds of golf increased by 7.2 percent in 2014, and the decline in membership has slowed to a trickle.
The challenge is to turn that graph around to the positive, which is what initiatives like GOLF MONTH are about.
In addition, Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia are offering a MyGolf Sporting Schools program which is expected to engage children across Australia in what will be the country’s largest school-based participation programme, working under the banner of the Australian Sports Commission.
Within the MyGolf Sporting Schools program we aim to introduce children to the game of Golf through fun, engaging and challenging games and activities that are easily suited and adapted for a range of age groups and skill levels within the school environment. The Program runs for four weeks in a school program with an optional fifth week at a local golf club or facility to further enhance the children’s experience.
For further information please visit www.sportingschools.gov.au
As for GOLF MONTH, it is aimed at driving club membership and to re-engage lapsed golfers under the banner ‘Rediscover Your Drive’. Part of the strategy is to encourage golf people to introduce friends and family to the game.
We have research to tell us that up to 92 percent of casual golfers, and 80 percent of club members, started playing the game because they were introduced by someone close to them. It is something we need to encourage and to capitalise upon.
As part of GOLF MONTH we will offer up an Emirates Australian Open experience including a spot in the pro-am this November in Sydney to a current member who introduces a new member to their club. Any golfer who manages to recruit a new member can enter a draw for the prize.
There will be hundreds of golf clubs and facilities running activities during the month of October, with details at the new website www.golfmonth.com.au. I urge golf people and clubs to get on board.