Golf by the numbers

Recent research has identified some interesting findings that extend beyond the health benefits of golf.
  • Almost 12 million competition rounds have been played across Australia in the last 12 months.
  • Over 3 million Australians have picked up a golf club to play or practice some form of golf in the last 12 months.
  • Social reasons are the main driver for play, followed by individual competition. Playing while on holiday or travelling came third.
  • Golf generates significant travel in and out of Australia with 29% travelling interstate to play and 12% heading overseas.
  • The average spend by domestic golf tourists on a per night basis is $302, who on average stay over 5.3 nights.
  • Almost 1.6 million golf trips were taken in Australia in 2013, generating 8.4 million golf visitor nights.
  • Since 2008 the number of day trips including golf have increased by an average rate of 2% per year.
  • The Murray River and Gold Coast are the most frequently visited golf destinations by the core golf tourist in Australia. Big recent gains have been recorded by Northern Tasmania, which has become the 4th most frequently visited golf destination in Australia.
  • 174,000 international tourists played golf when visiting Australia in 2013, representing 3.2% of all international visitors.

Source: SBP/Street Ryan 2017 Community Impact Study – September 2017

The community contribution of Golf in Australia today

The overall community contribution of golf in Australia is around $3.6 billion a year.

Golf makes an economic contribution to Australia of $3.5 billion.  This includes:

  • The regular and occasional participants (from social to program-based participants, school participants, regular club member competitors, and elite participants at the many events staged throughout the year).
  • Expenditure on services, goods, maintenance, and employees by golf clubs, associations and peak bodies.
  • Golf tourism, which generates visitation throughout Australia.
  • Golf training and coaching activities.
  • Retailing of golf equipment and merchandise.

Golf also brings health benefits to Australia worth around $132 million a year.

  • Golf’s physical health benefits include the prevention of ischaemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
  • Golf also helps prevent anxiety and depression thereby having substantial mental health benefits to the community.
  • Scandinavian researchers have previously found that golfers have an increase in life expectancy of 5 years.

Unique Social Strengths

Golf is arguably the only one true Game for Life that a grandparent can experience with their son, daughter and grandchild.

Whilst most sports make many positive contributions to the community through social capital and social cohesion, golf delivers the following unique social benefits:

  • Genuine lifelong contribution to the prevention of disease which reduces the healthcare burden on society.
  • Maintenance of strong social capital from youth to well beyond retirement age.
  • Golf clubs are significant local businesses that contribute to the local community through hosting a range of events that include charity and special events.
  • Golf participation provides regular and enduring social interaction.
  • The game has a culture based on respect, etiquette and self-discipline.
  • Golf courses preserve diminishing green-space and provide a sanctuary from the hustle of modern life.

Environmental Benefits

The Society of Australian Golf Course Architects has also conducted research showing how golf courses also provide significant benefits to the environment:

  • Provide a recreational resource promoting physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Promote indigenous flora and fauna and the Australian landscape experience.
  • Provide wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Preserve open space and remnant vegetation within urban environments.
  • Utilise and treat water resources such as sewage and urban runoff.
  • Protect valuable water resources.
  • Rehabilitate degraded landscapes.
  • Improve air quality and moderate heat.
  • Protect topsoil from degradation.
  • Beautify the environment and aid community education on environmental issues.