According to the Australian Sports Commission’s first AusPlay survey, released in 2016, golf is now the most popular club sport for adults in the country – and it’s the second most popular club sport for children, too. 685,000 Australians played golf at a club in the nine months leading up to September 2016, which is a sure sign that golf is an extremely popular way to keep fit in the country.

A report released two years earlier by Golf Australia, predicted that there were over one million golfers in the country: this represented a slight drop in the numbers from a few years previous – perhaps a reflection of the economic climate in a sport that is notoriously expensive to be involved in.

However, golf continues to be a common pastime for many Australians – whether they’re watching the pros compete on television or they’re out on the course themselves. It hasn’t always been this way, however.

History of Golf in Australia

The first golf club in Australia was opened in 1884, but there’s around 50 years’ history of the sport pre-dating that. Records show that the game was played in 1839 at Grose Farm, in Sydney. A New South Wales Golf Club was established in June 1839, but was short-lived. The oldest continuous club is thought to be The Australian Golf Club in Sydney, although they didn’t have a course for many years. Interest in golf in Australia was heightened during the 1950s, when Peter Thomson started his run of three consecutive victories in the Open Championship. Australian players have been successful in the professional game ever since, with the likes of Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Jason Day taking home Major titles and making world number one in the last two decades or so. Additionally, Karrie Webb is one of the best female golfers in the history of the game, having won seven Majors to date.

The Australian Open, which was first established in 1904, is the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the country and forms part of the PGA Tour of Australasia, first established in 1973. The Open has been played at 17 different courses over the years, across six Australian states. It has been won by some of the biggest names in golfing history, including Gary Player (seven wins), Jack Nicklaus (six wins), homegrown hero Greg Norman (five wins) and modern-day great Jordan Spieth (two wins).

Golf Participation

Golf is now a popular sport to play for men, women and children alike in Australia. In fact, it’s regularly ranked among the top 10 sports to play, alongside the likes of Aussie staples such as Aussie rules, rugby league and cricket. The best thing about golf in Australia is that, unlike many other sports, it can be played all year round.

Celebrity Golfers in Australia

Several well-known celebrities are also big fans of golf. Shane Warne, the former Australian spin bowler, is as famous for his golfing game as he is for his poker, where he has actually made it on to the professional circuit. Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman, star of The Hours, The Stepford Wives and Australia, has also professed her love of the sport in the past, as have AFL star Brendon Goddard, NRL hero Braith Anasta and former Australian Test cricketer Dean Jones.