Feature Article - Golf in Tasmania
According to 1997-98 figures, golf was the most popular sport played in Tasmania. During this time 36,100 persons (10.8% of the population) participated in a game of golf in Tasmania. Tasmania also boasts the highest number of golf courses per capita. Currently there are 65 courses in the State, one for every 7,000 persons. The high number of golf courses is explained by three factors: the sport’s popularity, the relatively decentralised nature of the State, and the ready availability of land to build a course.
Golf has a high level of membership for a sport; this is directly attributable to the need to be a member in order to play on most courses. Throughout the State there are 16,693 members playing golf: 11,847 are men, 3,293 are female (including juniors) and 1,553 are junior males.
Traditionally golf has been a male dominated sport where membership by women was prohibited. Before 1983 women could only join as ‘associates’ of the club and not attain full membership. Women can now join both as associates and as members. Over the last few decades there has been increasing female participation in the sport. In 1997-98, 8,200 females, 4.8% of the female population, participated in golf. By comparison, 27,900 males, 16.8% of the male population participated in golf.
There are a number of junior golf programs available for the young golfer. ‘Go Go Golf', run by the Tasmanian Golf Council, was set up in 1992 to introduce golf to younger people. Members conducting the program visit primary and high schools. According to the Tasmanian Golf Council, in 1998 the program visited 57 schools, 19 in the north, 12 in the north-west and 26 in the south. A total of 215 sessions of ‘Go Go Golf’ were conducted in 1998.
A total of 2,471 students across the State participated in the program, including 1,356 boys and 1,115 girls. The aim of the program is to visit each child in the State at-least once before they leave school.