By Dean Murphy
New Zealand Golf Chief Executive
While we are well into 2017, New Zealand Golf recently presented a report on the organisation’s activities of 2016 to our annual general meeting. The annual report presented covered an extremely busy and successful year for the organisation in many areas.
I encourage all golfers to review the report in detail at http://www.golf.co.nz/About/AnnualReports.aspx
The key highlights of the 2016 annual report include:
• The national membership decline has reduced significantly to be just 0.7%; the lowest for the past decade. The registered database of casual golfers has now reached over 85,000 players which provides us with valuable insight into the playing habits and preferences of these golfers.
• Supporting clubs and golfing communities: The organisation continued to run many national support programmes and worked directly with 125 clubs across 10 regions. This work is expected to expand again in 2017.
• New Zealand Women’s Open: in time, we suspect we will look back at the success of bringing an LPGA event to the country as a significant moment in the history of our game. It has taken an incredible amount of hard work from some very dedicated people.
• The men’s Open Championship also continues to go from strength to strength and it was very pleasing this year to form a new partnership with Millbrook Tournaments Limited that sees the championship remain in Arrowtown for at least another five years.
• Establishment of the New Zealand Golf Industry Council, an initiative well supported by all the organisations which work in the golf sector.
• Promotion of the game continued to go from strength to strength through the Love Golf brand and the award-winning She Loves Golf sub-brand. The positive results this is achieving for not only the perception of the game but also the direct membership and participation numbers is a wonderful success story.
• The value of golf tourism has grown from $145m in 2012 to $329m in 2016; outstanding results generated in partnership with Tourism New Zealand.
• Increased collaboration and sharing of ideas with international peers providing benefits to golf in New Zealand, particularly with the R&A, USGA, APGC, Augusta National and Golf Australia.
• Unprecedented support and investment from central and local government.
• Strong support from Sport NZ as reflected in the increased investment for the period 2016 through to 2020.
• Success on the world stage during 2016 was not surprisingly headlined by Lydia Ko who claimed an Olympic silver medal, a major championship plus three other LPGA Tour victories. An incredible year that in isolation would probably be considered one of the most successful years ever for a New Zealand golfer.
• 2017 is looking promising for New Zealand golfers after pleasing performances at the 2016 Eisenhower and Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and the success of New Zealand Golf programme graduates Danny Lee and Ryan Fox on the world stage.
• Finance: the organisation experienced a very successful year posting a net surplus of just over $800,000 which included a cash surplus of $48,000, and an increase in equity to just over $2.2m.
As we reflect on a successful year, we offer our sincere thanks to the community of golf for their contribution to the game. The golf sector relies on more than 6000 volunteers and a paid workforce that is dedicated, passionate and professional. Many, many people contribute a great deal to ensure golf is thriving all over the country and most do so on a voluntary basis. For this we offer our sincere thanks and appreciation.
While I’ve mentioned in this article a few of the many highlights from 2016, no one in our organisation is under any illusion that many more years of hard work are needed to ensure sustainability of our game. We believe our focus on growing and supporting the game at grass roots level has seen real change and that we are absolutely on the right track however we are acutely aware there is plenty more to do in 2017.
As always in golf, its important to keep our head down.