05 Oct 2022 | Industry news |

Australian Golf welcomes sport's inclusion in Commonwealth Games

by Australian Golf Media

13th Beach image
The 13th Beach links has been a great regional tournament venue ... and could potentially host a Commonwealth Games golf competition. Photo: Getty

Australian Golf has welcomed the exciting news that golf will appear in a Commonwealth Games for the first time when the Games come to Victoria in 2026. The sport appeared on the new competition list released today along with two other new sports – BMX and coastal rowing. Golf made its reappearance at the 2016 Olympic Games after a gap of more than 100 years and was also part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But it has not been on a Commonwealth Games program before and Australian Golf has acknowledged the initiative of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Victorian State Government in endorsing golf into the 2026 program. The addition of golf has been driven by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which also runs the Olympic golf competition and the World Amateur Teams Championship, and the three peak bodies in Australian Golf – the PGA of Australia, the WPGA and Golf Australia. To this point there is no announcement on the format of the competition. Given the vast array of quality golf courses across regional Victoria, the organisers will be spoilt for choice.  Various regional golf facilities have expressed interest in hosting, noting that the 2026 Games are designated across regional hubs in Geelong, Ballarat, Gippsland and Bendigo. James Sutherland, Golf Australia’s Chief Executive, said he was enthusiastic about the news that golf will be part of Commonwealth Games competition. “This is a great win for golf,” said James Sutherland, Chief Executive of Golf Australia. “This announcement validates golf’s increasing popularity and the enormous growth that the sport has enjoyed over the last three years. The golf industry has embarked on an aggressive growth strategy that involves bringing new people to the game.  The Commonwealth Games in 2026 will provide a huge platform to further demonstrate golf’s appeal as a sport for all. “Together with the PGA of Australia and WPGA Tour, Golf Australia looks forward to working with the IGF, CGF and State Government to deliver a wonderful spectacle and we encourage innovative thinking around a competition format that is inclusive of men and women, and attractive to golf fans new and old.” Gavin Kirkman, Chief Executive of the PGA of Australia, said: “This is a terrific result for our sport. It's going to provide playing opportunities for our young stars from around the Commonwealth. "We absolutely love golf in the Olympic Games and we’re sure that the sport being in the Commonwealth Games will be important for golf going forward as well. It’s a big stage, the Commonwealth Games, and we’re privileged to be finally on it.” Karen Lunn, Chief Executive of the WPGA Tour, said: “We’re really excited in particular to see some of our fantastic female players compete alongside the men on this stage. These are the kinds of platforms that we’re seeking to find for our sport and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to make it happen so quickly.” The 2026 Commonwealth Games are to be held from March 17-29. It is estimated the Games will contribute more than $3 billion to Victoria’s economy, creating more than 600 full-time equivalent jobs before the Games, 3900 jobs during the Games and a further 3000 jobs beyond the Closing Ceremony.

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