As the country and indeed the world grapples with the economic, social and physical impact of COVID-19, the industry of golf is one business which has boomed during the pandemic.
“It’s ironic because COVID has been the best thing that has happened to golf since Greg Norman,” respected industry professional David Burton said.
“And what I love about this story is, it is actually people’s desire to play golf.”
Burton, who was General Manager at the NSW Golf Club for 24 years and served on the national and state boards of Golf Management Australia (GMA) said it’s been a brilliant time for the game of golf.
“During COVID, every golf club at every level has been bombarded with demand for people wanting to play the game of golf. They want to be outside, take on the game, beat their handicap, maybe try and beat their mates, play in a comp.
“You can’t buy a set of beginners golf clubs in Sydney. They are all gone. It’s beautiful!
And Burton is quick to point out it’s not because of the facilities or hospitality available at the Club.
“We would all love to say it’s because we’ve got a great club, but it’s not because of your cold beer or lovely coffee or nice furniture. Because the club wasn’t available and they were still coming in droves.”
Burton encourages those in the golf business to seize the opportunity, adapt to the change and continue with the momentum of the sports resurgence.
“In GMA for the last 10 years we have all been slogging the game – saying how do we get more people to play, how do we get people to become members?” he said.
“Leverage off this momentum because the golf courses are full. They are playing the game. Now it’s about how we can get people to understand the enjoyment of being a member of a Club.”
The GMA Life Member urges club managers to assess and understand the different needs of the different groups of people playing golf at their club so as to entice them to be members.
“Do your homework on who has visited your course. Assess what the differences are between what a 40-year-old woman and 40-year-old man looks like when they come to your course.
“Take advantage now and consider what lifestyle things you can offer them – can they bring their wife to the Club, their families, is there a juniors program?” he said.
“This has been a blessing in disguise for golf and now its about how you manage the opportunity for the future.”