By David Newbery
I’d like a dollar for every time I have heard
someone say, “What the golf industry needs in
Australia is another Greg Norman”.
Most pundits agree Norman did wonders
for the golf industry in the 1980s and early
1990s but the chances of finding another
Great White Shark soon is about as remote as
NASA’s Curiosity rover finding a golf course on
But when the Shark started to fade from the
scene and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) arrived things started to go a little pear shaped.
Less people were joining golf clubs and clubs
struggled to hang on to members.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom according to
former and respected Royal Queensland Golf
Club’s general manager Ted Coker and manufacturer Wayne Bosley.
Back then, Norman was the face of golf in this
country and the game powered along faster
than Usain Bolt.
Both men have spent a lifetime in and around
the golf industry and agreed to share their
thoughts with Golf Industry Central readers.
New golf clubs and resorts popped up like
mushrooms and club professionals had permanent smiles on their faces listening to the
sound money falling in their tills.
Some of the topics covered in this article
include juniors, women, membership, marketing of equipment and committees – once the
bane of all golf club managers.
Manufacturers, too, laughed all the way to the
bank as enthusiastic golfers regularly swapped
old gear for the latest technology money
“I am impressed with the way golf clubs are
looking after juniors now,” said Coker, who
spent 38 years in golf club management.
“Forty years ago golf and tennis fought each
other for getting people to play their sport. “A
bloke called Greg Norman changed all that in
Gone were the days when you bought a set of
golf clubs and kept them for 10 years or more.
Golfing and non-golfing parents alike encouraged their offspring to pick up a club and have
“Within 10 years suburban tennis courts were
closing and golf clubs were being built. I know
Greg wasn’t responsible for all of it, but he
The Golf Marketing Professionals www.golfindustrycentral.com.au
Bosley, the one-time Acushnet Australia and
NZ distributor who now runs Vision Golf,
backed up Coker’s sentiments. “Greg Norman
did do a lot, but there is confusion as to what
he did,” Bosley offered.
“If you have an elite player at the top of the
tree it draws a lot of players, which has been
the case in a lot of sports.
“Golf’s got its own place in the world because
it’s a lifetime activity, but it’s never been
explained to people that it is something you
should learn when you are young.
“It’s like riding a bike – it’s so much easier if
you pick it up early.”
Coker is a case in point – he took up the
game early and is still going strong at 83 years
“I play three times a week,” Coker said. “Golf
is the only sport I know that allows you to
play all your life. “I think the future is bright
because of the junior coaching. If we only get
10 per cent of the kids into golf, it will be a big
help in the future.
“There will be a lot more people playing golf.
There won’t be that many people playing at