12 Oct 2022 | Industry news |

Unity message for Golf Business Forum and PGA Expo

by Australian Golf Media

Gavin Kirkman GBF image
PGA CEO Gavin Kirkman speaks at the opening of the forum today.

The 2022 Golf Business Forum / PGA Expo began today in Melbourne with the industry presenting a united front.

More than 500 people are attending the forum at Centrepiece where speakers from around the world are presenting.

It is the first time that the PGA and Golf Australia have collaborated on the Golf Business Forum.

PGA of Australia Chief Executive Gavin Kirkman told the forum that golf was thriving and that the industry was in a good place.

“I’ve never been so excited about where the game is heading,” said Kirkman. “When I started in golf in the mid-1980s it was just a good game, a fun game but very elitist. It was for people like myself – old, white, male, pale, stale! Here we are now, we’re changing the look of the game. We’ve changed the way we talk about the game. I couldn’t be more excited about the way the game is heading.”

Kirkman said the game needed to continue to pull together. “Australian golf has been fragmented for quite some time. We’ve all worked in silos, we’ve competed against each other as an industry, but the exciting part here today is that we are working together. That’ll be a common theme over the next three days.”

The PGA CEO said fun was a key word for the sport as it tried to create positive. “We need to bring fun back into our sport. We don’t talk about fun. We have too many rules, too many regulations -- caps in clubhouses, short socks, black socks, dress codes. We’ve got to make sure that people who come to play our sport feel good and want to play our sport.”

Golf Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said club membership had grown nine percent in the past two years, “huge increases particularly against a decline the previous 20 years”, rounds played were up 30 percent in the same period, equipment sales were up substantially and there had been a huge increase in investment in golf infrastructure.

Sutherland said this presented the sport with an opportunity. “It feels to me like it’s a pivotal time. As we come out of Covid, for the next year or so, will really dictate the future of the game.”

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