Grow­ing the game


As the sport of golf nears 150 years of ex­is­tence in New Zealand, with at­tempts to es­tab­lish a golf course in Otago doc­u­mented as early as 1871, the sport has long stood the test of time; its history and tra­di­tion widely ac­knowl­edged as core strengths.

Yet in the mod­ern era, an era of time-poor, tech­no­log­i­cally savvy mil­len­ni­als, such strength can also be an in­hibitor to golf or­gan­i­sa­tions’ propen­sity to adapt to chang­ing eco­nomic, so­ci­etal and mar­ket forces.

As cited by the Golf Fa­cil­i­ties Plan, an In­de­pen­dent HSBC Re­port: Golf’s 2020 Vi­sion study be­lieves, for ex­am­ple, six and nine hole for­mats and other short-forms will com­ple­ment the 18-hole tra­di­tion.

In at­tempt­ing to in­flu­ence sus­tain­abil­ity in the fu­ture, golf fa­cil­i­ties will be­come more fam­ily friendly, more uni­sex and more mod­ern.

“We ex­pect that golf clubs will in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sport in a range of forms, par­tic­u­larly among young peo­ple,” Mar­riott-Lloyd pre­dicts. “This means look­ing at new ways to en­cour­age peo­ple to play golf and re­spond to the chang­ing na­ture of par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“Coun­cil also en­cour­ages golf cour­ses to look at op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion in other forms of sport and recre­ation through diver­si­fi­ca­tion of land use.”

Fletcher, in rep­re­sent­ing Al­bert-Eden-Roskill, also main­tains that Auck­land Coun­cil is con­fi­dent of golf par­tic­i­pa­tion lev­els grow­ing in line with Auck­land’s over­all pop­u­la­tion growth.

“The in­creased num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in the city is only go­ing to place more pres­sure on sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties,” she says. “We be­lieve it makes sense to have a strat­egy frame­work in place for golf, and in­deed for other sports, to en­sure the game is rep­re­sented fairly.”

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