Golf Industry Central Autumn 2013 - Page 20

By David Newbery “In the last year, membership was just ahead of where it was the year before,” he said. “We didn’t have the big decline that we had in the last few years. We have had an excellent summer and maybe that has helped.” In 2011, membership dipped three per cent on the previous year. “There has been concern in previous years about the decline in traditional adult membership and that was leaving some clubs in a position where sustainability and ongoing viability was an issue,” Murphy said. “However, there is a bit of an upswing in participation and that’s been bolstered by the growth of the casual golfer. This area continues to outstrip the growth in other sectors of the game.” Murphy said golf clubs were looking at their business structures more frequently following the drop-off in traditional membership. “We are seeing a lot of positive things happening, particularly with rounds played by members,” he said. “Clubs are changing. People say the world of golf moves slowly, but we have seen a big upswing in the last 12 months. There are a lot of golf clubs that are now trying to understand their market, trying to 18 identify who their customers are and what products they can offer them to bring them through the door.” “In my view, that is going to increase in the future. We are working with clubs on ways they can put some robust plans in place to help them run their business in a better way. “We are not suggesting they all need help, but we have found that by sharing our knowledge and best practice from around the country they have a much better chance of success.” For the New Zealand golf industry, sharing knowledge is a key focus and it is even sharing ideas with the Jack Newton Junior Golf (JNJG) in Australia. “We have had them (JNJG) come over so we can look at their program and things we may be able to do together,” Murphy said. “We are examining what they are doing and where they are having their successes.” “ “ Dean Murphy, the head of New Zealand Golf, says greater flexibility in the New Zealand golf membership market has sparked renewed interest among golfers. “There are some good signs with a lot more Kiwi kids picking up a golf club and participating.” One JNJG initiative New Zealand Golf is keen to learn more about is the 700 New South Wales schoolteachers trained to deliver golf to students. “That is a nice model and it seems it is getting some real traction,” he said. The Golf Marketing Professionals www.golfindustrycentral.com.au