State of the game


But per­haps the big­gest ques­tion, as golf clubs seek clar­ity and clo­sure, cen­tres on par­tic­i­pa­tion, the key com­po­nent when eval­u­at­ing the prospects of the coun­try’s first-ranked or­gan­ised sport.

Ahead of football football, net­ball net­ball, cricket and touch rugby, 2013/14 Ac­tive New Zealand Sur­vey find­ings re­port that ap­prox­i­mately 9.6 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion are reg­u­lar chasers of the lit­tle white ball.

At present, 36 of the 39 golf fa­cil­i­ties sur­veyed dur­ing the Golf Fa­cil­i­ties Plan, showed that Auck­land sup­plies a to­tal of 3,753,131 rounds in a year, as­sum­ing the ideal sce­nario of one tee-off by a group of four ev­ery eight min­utes, with around 869,898 ac­tu­ally played.

Of the rounds played at Auck­land clubs, 75 per cent are mem­bers at their home clubs, 14 per cent are mem­bers at af­fil­i­ated clubs and 11 per cent are ca­sual play­ers.

Yet wor­ry­ingly, golf in New Zealand is cur­rently at a ma­jor cross­roads, tee­ter­ing be­tween the na­tional pride about Ly­dia Ko, aged 18, be­com­ing the youngest player to win a ma­jor cham­pi­onship, and wilt­ing ob­scu­rity.

On the global pro­fes­sional stage, the game is in young hands, with Jor­dan Spi­eth, Rory McIl­roy and Jason Day aged 22, 26 and 27, re­spec­tively, yet on Kiwi shores golf is in dan­ger of los­ing the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion.

“Golf cur­rently has low lev­els of up­take by young peo­ple so we need to work with the sec­tor to in­crease the at­trac­tive­ness of the sport to this de­mo­graphic group,” Mar­riott-Lloyd says.

“This is crit­i­cal to the long-term vi­tal­ity of golf. Coun­cil will work along­side the sec­tor, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on lease­hold­ers, to en­sure that they are able to ef­fec­tively re­spond to the chang­ing na­ture of par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

In out­lin­ing New Zealand Golf’s take on the dwin­dling num­bers of golfers in the city, Mur­phy ad­vises that while golf has the high­est adult par­tic­i­pa­tion rates of any or­gan­ised sport in Auck­land, the sport is “ex­pe­ri­enc­ing changes in how peo­ple choose to par­tic­i­pate”.

In­deed, it could be ar­gued the sport is re­miss in not of­fer­ing ac­ces­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ences that meet the needs of young peo­ple and as a re­sult the sport in Auck­land is in over­sup­ply.

In hous­ing 39 clubs, Auck­land has one of the low­est pop­u­la­tions per golf course at 38,659 per capita, com­pared to Mel­bourne with (56,339), Syd­ney (50,850) and Van­cou­ver (56,276).

By 2031, it is widely pre­dicted that 38 per cent (1,968,100) of the pro­jected 5,194,600 res­i­dents in New Zealand will live in the Auck­land re­gion, mean­ing the num­ber will rise to 50,464, po­ten­tially caus­ing the city to be ‘un­der-golfed’.

“Cur­rently, the sta­tus of golf in Auck­land could sug­gest that there are too many cour­ses in the city, but this is open to de­bate and as the pop­u­la­tion grows it could swing back into the favour of golf cour­ses,” White says.

“De­mand for golf, as with all sports, changes fre­quently. It ebbs and flows and whether it be golf, rugby or football, de­mand can peak and then fall off again.

“In the fu­ture, the de­mand for golf and mem­ber­ships only needs to in­crease by ten to fif­teen per cent to en­sure that the cur­rent vol­ume of cour­ses we have at present would be bang on.”

Waitakere GC

Red­wood GC

Clarks Beach GC

Waitem­ata GC

Omaha Beach GC

Wai­heke GC

Great Bar­rier Is­land GC

Pupuke GC

Awhitu Re­gional Park GC




Cham­ber­lain Park Num­ber of golf cour­ses: 39 Num­ber of pub­licly owned cour­ses: 13 Num­ber of links cour­ses: 2 (Muri­wai and Omaha) Num­ber of park­land cour­ses: 37 Rounds supplied per year (36 out of 39 cour­ses sur­veyed): 3,753,131 Rounds played per year (36 out of 39 cour­ses sur­veyed): 869,868 Rounds played at Auck­land clubs: Av­er­age price per round: $31.67 Av­er­age rev­enue gen­er­ated per 18-hole round: $58.94 Av­er­age cost per 18-hole round: $54.94 Net rev­enue per round: $4.00 Auck­land: 39 cour­ses = 38,659 (per course) Zurich: 7 cour­ses = 271,429 (per course) Mel­bourne: 74 cour­ses = 56,339 (per course) Van­cou­ver: 44 cour­ses = 56,276 (per course) Syd­ney: 91 cour­ses = 50,850 (per course)















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