COVID-19 may have derailed sporting activities for much of the community during 2020, but for golf, participation is booming across New South Wales.
With the boom, clubs across New South Wales are reporting spikes in membership numbers not seen in years.
Affiliation numbers provided to Golf NSW from clubs show a jump in memberships of around 1.4 percent across metropolitan Sydney, and 4.2 percent in regional New South Wales.
Several clubs in metropolitan Sydney have reported double-digit increases in memberships, including Balgowlah (up 12 percent), Bexley (17.4 percent), Brighton Lakes (22.4 percent), Cammeray (11.5 percent), Marrickville (16.2 percent), Stonecutters Ridge (10.6 percent), and Woolooware (19.8 percent).
Regional club memberships have also reported significant increases including Armidale (39 percent), Taree (24 percent), Forster/Tuncurry (16 percent), Links Shell Cove (15.5 percent), Thurgoona CC (14.6 percent), Toronto (14.7 percent), and Waratah Golf Club near Newcastle (20.8 percent).
The State's busiest golfing facility, Moore Park, is predicting a jump of around 50 percent in total rounds played from 60,000 in 2019-2020 to approximately 90,000 in 2020-2021.
“When people take the step beyond having a social game or have a hit at the local range and joining a club, it makes our club's stronger and the sport healthier.” – Stuart Fraser, Golf NSW
In addition to the number of rounds predicted to be played this financial year, an estimated 250,000 customers are expected to use the multi-story driving range.
Moore Park Golf Club Vice President John Janik said due to the uptick in interest in the sport and use of the Centennial Parklands Trust facility, membership enquiries at the club had jumped considerably.
"We are seeing a lot of enquires about joining from people who have never played before.
"We offer a three-month package for them to try our membership model. Already this month, 19 people have taken it up.
"We are expecting even more enquiries as the summer approaches."
Stuart Fraser, Chief Executive Officer at Golf New South Wales, said it was pleasing to see interest in the sport back on the rise.
“While there's no doubt COVID has contributed to a resurgence of interest in golf, it's easy to see that people aren't merely trying the sport then moving on to something else,” Mr Fraser said.
"People are coming back and playing golf more than once; it's clear a growing number are even stepping beyond just the social aspect of the game and joining a club.
“When people take the step beyond having a social game or have a hit at the local range and joining a club, it makes our club's stronger and the sport healthier.”