Decline in golf club membership is slowing; social club golfers on the rise

Golf Australia have released the 2015 Golf Club Participation report, which shows a slowing of golf club membership decline.


Golf Australia, with Golf Management Australia (GMA) have released their annual report on golf club participation in Australia.

The report gives an overview of Australian golf club members, breaking down the numbers by gender, age and geographical areas.

This years report shows a slowing down in the decline of golf club members across Australia, the smallest annual membership decline since the last 1990s.

Club competition rounds increased in 2015 with about 14.54 million rounds recorded by GolfLink, a 1.9% increase from 2014.

Cameron Wade, Director of Golf Development at Golf Australia said “The 2015 outcome is the smallest annual membership decline recorded since 1999. Off the back of another sub 1% membership decline in 2014, a declining attrition rate and steady growth in competition rounds played, these results present an encouraging outlook for club golf in Australia.”

Golf club membership in Australia reached a peak in the 1990s with 500,000 golfers affiliated with a golf club for most of the decade. However, club membership has been in decline since 2000 with the 2015 club membership numbers coming in at just under 400,000. Just Western Australia have experiences an increase during the last decade.

Interestingly, the number of social golf clubs have been on the increase in the past decade with the number of golfers reported as members of these clubs nearly doubling in the past four years; from 10,975 in 2011 to 20,819 in 2015.

Reported member numbers for social clubs have increased over the past five-years from 10,975 in 2011 to 20,745 in 2015. Or roughly about the same number of golfers who are no longer members of metropolitan golf clubs during the same period.

While I’m not suggesting these are the same golfers who have traded a regular club membership for a more flexible (and less expensive) social one, it does show that the more traditional membership packages aren’t as appealing as they used to be.

Here are a few more of the key findings from the report:

  • Approximately two-thirds of clubs in Australia have less than 200 members, with 83% having less than 500 members.
  • While clubs of over 1,000 members account for only 4% of all clubs across Australia, they account for 24% of individual members.
  • NSW has the most number of golf clubs with 378, and the highest average member size of 394.
  • The average age of club members across the country is just over 55 years, as it was in 2014.
  • Reported junior members (under the age of 18) account for 3.6% of total members across the country.

If you’d like to delve a little more; check out the 2015 Golf Club Participation Report for yourself.

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