Aussie and WA golf participation levels continue to soar

1st Dec 2023

Australian golf participation report

Australian golf is enjoying a fourth consecutive year of participation growth, with 17.6% of adults hitting a golf ball in 2022-23.

Golf Australia’s latest Golf Participation Report shows that 3.5 million adult Australians played golf in the last year – at golf courses, driving ranges, simulators or mini-golf facilities – with club membership levels up by 10.2% over the past three years.

Club membership grew by 1.9% in 2022-23 to 434,825 people, following increases of 2.7% in 2021-22 and a record 6.4% surge in the COVID-19 years of 2020-21.

There was also a 9.3% rise in junior membership at clubs around the country, along with a surge in women and girls joining golf clubs with an increase of 12.6%.

“Golf is one of Australia’s biggest participation sports,” said Golf Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland. “It has always been big, and it is getting bigger.

“There is a changing face of our sport that sees growth in traditional on-course golf being fueled through the popularity of off-course golf – such as driving ranges, indoor golf, and mini-golf.”

WA levels still on the up

At WA level, the reading was similarly positive with a 3.4% rise in club membership (including social membership) in 2023 to a total of 36,600 members.

The largest membership demographic increase came in girls’ golf, which grew 14.9% across the state in 2023. Overall, women and girls make up 21% of club members in Western Australia – 2% higher than the national average.

WA’s Pilbara and Gascoyne regions have also seen something of a hike in club membership levels, with the percentage increase in both regions exceeding 15% in the last year.

GolfWA Chief Executive Gary Thomas hailed the figures, saying: “Golf continues to be one of the most popular sports in the state and there is still no indication that the COVID-related surge in interest is coming to an end.”

Karratha Regional Roadshow

Events like the GolfWA Crunch&Sip Regional Roadshow in Karratha are helping grow the game across WA


The membership increase in several regions was also reason for cheer, Thomas said. “Through initiatives such as our Regional Roadshows, Community Instructor training workshops and WA Golf Foundation-funded beginners’ clinics all around the state, GolfWA puts a lot of resources into supporting regional golf.

“We’re seeing some very positive results on the back of this and are hopeful that this is creating sustainable pathways for people to get into golf for the long term.”

While the club membership increases made for positive reading, Thomas added that they don’t tell the whole story of golf participation in Western Australia.

“What the figures don’t take into consideration are the active golfers who are not members of clubs, or those who solely use off-course facilities such as driving ranges and indoor simulators,” he said.

“When you add those golfers into the WA membership figures, you get a total of 366,000 adult Western Australians who played a form of golf in the past 12 months, including 145,000 in off-course golf.”

The key numbers

  • 3.5 million Australians played golf in 2022-23, representing 17.6% of adult Australians – up from 2.7 million in 2021-22
  • 2.2 million people played on a golf course at least once in 2022-23, with 50% of those people playing at least one form of alternative golf either on the driving range, on a simulator or on a mini-golf course. A further 1.3 million people only played off-course
  • Club membership increased 1.9%, with 8045 new members joining. The average age of these new members was 41 for men and boys and 52 for women and girls
  • State-by-state membership growth:  SA 5%, Tasmania 5%, WA 3.4%, QLD 1.9%, NSW 1.4%, Vic 0.9%, NT -7%
  • Junior membership at clubs rose 9.3%
  • At golf clubs, women and girls’ membership rose 12.6%, and men and boys’ membership rose 1.9%
  • Numbers in the MyGolf program rose 22% year-on-year, and Get Into Golf numbers rose 39%

Read the full report here.