By Neal Maidment
WA’s golf boom shows little sign of slowing, with club membership numbers and participation rates still well above pre-COVID levels.
While most sports were negatively impacted by the COVID pandemic, golf flourished as one of the few sports relatively unaffected by social distancing guidelines. As a result, membership levels at WA clubs surged and were 8% higher in 2022 than in 2019, with the total number of competitive rounds played by those members up 9% on 2019 figures.
The total number of golf club members across WA in 2022 was 35,452 across 331 clubs: up 2.3% on 2021 figures. Just over 21% of the total number of WA golf club members, or 7461 members, are female – a figure that jumped by 7.8% compared to 2021, helped by a huge 30% increase in female membership at public clubs.
The number of junior girl club members also increased by 5.4% in 2022, with GolfWA Chairperson Greg Higham hailing the positive results. “Growing our game – especially the participation of women and girls – is fundamental to GolfWA,” he said.
“These significant increases in female membership are encouraging and hopefully reflective of a growing awareness for clubs to offer attractive programs to new female golfers that also address the negative perceptions of the game.”
In terms of participation, the total number of competition rounds logged by WA club members via GOLF Link topped 1,000,000 for the third year running. Throughout 2022, 1,079,001 competitive rounds were played – an increase of 9% on 2019 figures. Almost 20% of rounds were played by female golfers, with 58.3% of rounds played at metropolitan clubs.
Although there was a 0.8% reduction in the overall number of rounds played compared to 2021, this is attributable to the relaxation of COVID travel rules, which enabled golfers to travel and compete interstate and overseas.
While the figures paint a positive picture of the health of golf in the state, GolfWA Chief Executive Gary Thomas warned that there’s no room for complacency.
“Whilst we all know that golf has experienced considerable growth during the pandemic, we have a great opportunity to continue that momentum and to encourage more Western Australians to play more golf, be it on the course, at a driving range, or even mini golf,” he said. “It is up to all of us to share our love of the sport and attract new people to it.”
It should be noted that the figures quoted in this article do not take into account non-competitive rounds at private or public golf courses.