FI­NAL WORD

NEW ZEALAND IS FAC­ING A MA­JOR CHANGE IN ITS SO­CIO-CUL­TURAL MAKE UP OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS, WHICH WILL SIG­NIF­I­CANTLY IM­PACT ON THE DE­MAND FOR AND PRO­VI­SION OF SPORT AND RE­CRE­ATION.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS MUR­RAY WARD CHAIR­MAN NZ GOLF INC.

Mur­ray Ward, Chair­man of NZ Golf Inc. gives some thoughts on golf to­day.

Tra­di­tional sport­ing mod­els and codes are un­der threat from these rapid so­ci­etal changes and the global trends to­wards in­ac­tiv­ity. The face of New Zealand is chang­ing, and the way peo­ple want to en­gage in sport is chang­ing.

Sport NZ be­lieve ‘if we don’t act now, our sport­ing cul­ture, and all of the ben­e­fits it pro­vides to New Zealand and New Zealan­ders, could be lost’.

Golf is a game that is im­por­tant to New Zealan­ders, hold­ing a spe­cial place in the na­tion’s sport­ing land­scape. Golf was first played in New Zealand at the Otago Golf Club in 1871, there­fore in two years’ time we will cel­e­brate 150 years of golf in this coun­try.

For New Zealand as a sport­ing na­tion, golf pro­vides some of the most mem­o­rable oc­ca­sions in our his­tory. The names of Sir Bob Charles, Michael Camp­bell and Lydia Ko are syn­ony­mous with the very pin­na­cle of New Zealand sport­ing suc­cess. They are ath­letes whose suc­cess has in­spired gen­er­a­tionsof New Zealan­ders from all walks of life.

Golf is by no means im­mune to the chal­lenges fac­ing sport and fol­low­ing in­ter­na­tional trends we have seen a de­cline in the num­ber of peo­ple join­ing clubs and the num­ber of rounds played.

It’s cru­cial that the sport em­braces the fu­ture and plans ef­fec­tively to meet the chang­ing needs of par­tic­i­pants. This means not only sus­tain­ing what we cur­rently have in terms of grass roots par­tic­i­pa­tion and per­for­mance suc­cess but de­liv­er­ing a sport that at­tracts a new gen­er­a­tion of par­tic­i­pants who de­velop a life­long love of the game.

Golf is dis­tinc­tive from other sports and has tra­di­tion and his­tory that en­com­passes a value set that is unrivalled. We must en­sure we don’t lose these val­ues as we move for­ward.

It is the only sport that can be played com­pet­i­tively and eq­ui­tably across all fa­cil­i­ties in all con­di­tions by par­tic­i­pants of all ages and skill lev­els. Most im­por­tantly, golf is a game that pro­vides di­verse and wide rang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing unique set of health, well­be­ing, com­pet­i­tive and so­cial ben­e­fits. Golf has a sig­nif­i­cant and pos­i­tive im­pact on our lives. This im­pact is re­alised through so­cial, en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic and com­mu­nity out­comes for New Zealand and its peo­ple.

Golf con­trib­utes sig­nif­i­cantly to the health and well­be­ing of New Zealan­ders for all ages. An 18 hole round of golf can in­volve walk­ing up to nine kilo­me­tres and around 12,000 steps. Golf’s phys­i­cal health ben­e­fits in­clude the treat­ment and preven­tion of more than 40 ma­jor chronic dis­eases.

Golf has a cul­ture based on re­spect for oth­ers and is a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to phi­lan­thropy.

Golf’s role in the en­vi­ron­ment ex­tends past act­ing as green buf­fers. There is good ev­i­dence of a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween lev­els of neigh­bour­hood greenspace and men­tal health and well-be­ing.

And of course, the golf sec­tor con­trib­utes sig­nif­i­cantly to the econ­omy. It is es­ti­mated it con­trib­utes over $1bil­lion in GDP per an­num through em­ploy­ment, golf tourism, course con­struc­tion and main­te­nance.

So, as we plan for next year and be­yond we must recog­nise and ac­com­mo­date this change to re­alise our op­por­tu­ni­ties and en­sure the game of golf con­tin­ues to thrive. It will de­mand lead­er­ship that de­vel­ops a united vi­sion and a strong pos­i­tive di­rec­tion for the game, a ro­bust golf ad­min­is­tra­tion net­work that ap­pro­pri­ately sup­ports the growth of the sec­tor par­tic­u­larly at grass roots level, world class tech­nol­ogy sys­tems that sup­port the game, a strong and ca­pa­ble work­force (paid and vol­un­tary) and an in­spir­ing net­work of am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional coaches.

Es­tab­lished in 1871, the Otago Golf Club in Bal­macewen, Dunedin is the old­est club in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

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