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14 | GROW THE GAME

Golf’s electronic 19th fairway

By David Newbery

Australian golf is teeing it up on its longest ever fairway – electronics.

In an age when the information game is being played on more levels than a Japanese driving range, golfers are becoming more comfortable going online to access golf information. Of course, golfer enthusiasts still enjoy going to the traditional information providers – the golf magazines like Inside Golf et al. But golf websites have opened a new market pipeline to consumers and many are taking advantage of the opportunity. The internet era has altered the way ‘golf’ is accessed and has had a marked effect on those who go online and what they want.

The PGA of Australia has recognised the need to be more active in promoting the sport and has customised a radio program to be broadcast on 33 regional radio stations on Australia’s east coast. PGA CEO Max Garske said the days of sitting back and hoping journalists would run with a story were well and truly gone. The PGA of Australia has correctly discovered that golf is in major competition with all other sports for coverage and more new participants. “I think in terms of participation we have had an increase in the number of people playing the game – somewhere in the order of 10-15 per cent,” he said. “Some of our professionals have said they have had the best summer they have ever had.” The PGA, which has its own website, is proactive when it comes to promoting the game and regularly provides media outlets

with potential news items. Of course, the days of the internet do not mean the end of traditional golf communications such as magazines and other monthly publications. A visit to a newsagency a few short years go would produce three or four glossy magazines and not much else. Now the glossies abound on a huge variety of topics and golfers can fi nd whatever takes their fancy. A Google search will uncover plenty of other golf niche market areas. For example, there are sites that provide information about sporty gifts, sandbelt golf, fi tness, science and injury, golf tips and golf jobs. New golf news outlets mean more readers and, therefore, more golf being brought to the attention of readers. Publications and their electronic offsiders mean there are now hundreds, nay thousands, of extra people directly

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