By Paul Vardy

AUSTRALIA’S golf industry produces benefits to society in the form of health and wellbeing, community, environmental and economic.  

A significant amount of economic activity is generated in the preparation and maintenance of playing surfaces, buildings and surrounds. 

I’m still amazed at the level of golf participation spending compared to other major sports.  Data released by Ausplay in 2019 showed for people aged 15+, spending on golf was $986m. 

The participation spending on the next biggest sports combined, football (soccer), tennis, netball, basketball, cricket, Australian football and touch football added up to $746m.

Councils should be quietly impressed with these recreational mini-economies that improve community health and wellbeing while the participants pay for the privilege.  

I’m not sure what the cost per hectare for maintaining a public park is these days or the various ovals and grounds on the books, but I’d think golf is providing a pretty good service here.  

Still, the more golf can engage the community and broaden its participation, the more councils will realise the value that golf provides.

As reported in 2017 by the Australian Golf Industry Council, the community economic contribution of golf in Australia was calculated to be $3.48 billion which is spending on club memberships and green fees, retail, coaching, tourism and events.  

Half of the contribution is in the regional areas and the other half in the capital cities. City folk often don’t appreciate the impact that golf has in regional areas. It is, after all, where 84 per cent of clubs reside.

The GMA/ASTMA Conference and Trade Exhibition will be staged at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in June.

Servicing the industry are the golf governing bodies in the hundreds, clubs and facilities staff 25,000+, countless thousands of volunteers, thousands of consultants, contractors and suppliers. 

As the needs of golfers and the industry evolve, the industry constantly draws in a broad range of people with ideas and skills. 

I am fortunate to have exposure to a broad range of these people and I’m constantly energised by their perspectives. I’m particularly impressed when I meet individuals who have left a safe career elsewhere to explore an opportunity to solve a need or meet a market in golf.  

These people see something that others don’t. It’s a bit like the movie “The Power of The Dog” where only a few notice the shadows forming the shape of a dog on a mountain range. 

These days there are people building online golf networks for businesswomen, executive golfers and social golfers.  

There are designers of carry rakes, all abilities carts, new golf snacks, new online education and software systems and there’s new television and radio shows.

The GMA/ASTMA Conference and Trade Exhibition from June 19-23 will trigger an amazing exchange of ideas. 

Who’s doing what? What’s working and what’s changing? 

Sponsored by major event partners Schweppes and Toro, it will bring together almost 1000 people from golf, club and turf management at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for the first conference of its kind.  

Delegates will hear from an array of speakers providing insights into golf industry strategy and news, future trends, sustainability, leadership, human resourcing, asset management and finance.   

Putting new learnings into context with improving operations on the ground is always the key. Networking assists this to happen and is always the number one reported benefit of a conference.  

There’s excitement brewing about joining together with colleagues in the industry that draws so many in.  

GMA encourages club boards and committees to send key staff to this important event.

www.golfmanagement.com.au/conference/2022-gma-national-conference/about-the-conference/

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