Is the world of golf in New Zealand changing?
ertainly when we first started
Cworking in this magazine at the beginning of this century there were over 400 active golf courses throughout both islands and lots of comment that we were over represented in terms of population count. In other words they were underused even in those days.
What has happened in the last 20 years? The world has changed but has club golf? Certainly - except in a few enlightened clubs management is fractured and ever changing. Come club Board and Committee elections there is sometimes a huge change of direction. Governance is lacking in many respects. Club Managers are rarely given proper authority and long/medium term business plans to work to. Club members get elected and their first priority is to make a change to something they have an issue with on the course, in the clubhouse or something else that should be part of day to day management rather than concentrating on governance!!
All this feeds into a lack of market and sustainable income. Indeed one club we were at recently did not have a GM currently on the books. It was all hands to the pumps by the Pro Shop and volunteers. This situation does not happen overnight!
When you talk to Dean Murphy, CEO of NZ Golf Inc. you become very quickly realise that he and his Board of Directors are acutely aware of these issues facing the industry and are being as pro active as clubs will allow. However it is slow going. All too often we hear comment along the lines of “NZ Golf recommend this but we ignore them!”
In Auckland the Council has started taking a good look at the land that they own and currently lease to Clubs. There has been a lot of misinformation written about this process but it is real. Some clubs will need to change, I doubt whether any will be worse off. They may be different but that's the world we live in.
So are we heading to the 300 club market? Maybe. There are pockets of success, Queenstown is a classic example, however rural New Zealand may be in for a sea change over the next few years.
I suppose we have to comment on Tigers win. It has been coming for a few months now as he has become stronger and fitter. We received a complaint a few weeks ago from a reader about our “comprehensive” coverage of “the Philanderer Woods” and no matter how we tried to explain it nothing but a total ban would work for the reader. The reality is he is VERY good at his job, and he draws the Crowds and the Money into the sport. It is what is needed.
Over the past months we have wondered if Tiger would win again – now the question is how many more times can he win! Enjoy this Magazine