As any travel agent or tour operator knows, golfing holidays are big business. Not only do some 1.9 million Australians aged over 14 play golf either regularly or occasionally, but they tend to be from the better-off end of the socio-economic spectrum and more likely to go on holiday than the average Aussie.
Latest findings by Roy Morgan Research show that people who play golf either regularly or occasionally are considerably more likely than the average Australian to name Queensland as the state they’d most like to visit on holiday in the next two years: 49.6% compared with the population average of 40.6%.
Victoria (49.2%) and New South Wales (47.9%) also rate higher for golfers on their holiday wish-lists than for the average Aussie. The only state which golfers have a below-average interest in visiting is South Australia.
Delving a bit deeper into which destinations in Queensland, Victoria and NSW appeal especially strongly to golfers, a rather unsurprising – but striking nonetheless – pattern emerges. People who play golf are noticeably more likely than the average Australian to name destinations with good golf courses (or golf resorts) as potential holiday spots.
Among the Queensland destinations more likely to appeal to golfers than the average Australian are:
- Noosa: Aussies who play golf are 59% more likely than the average Australian to name Noosa as somewhere they’d like to take a holiday
- Surfers Paradise: 41% more likely
- Cairns, Atherton Tableland: 24% more likely
Each of these places offers a choice of golf courses and/or resorts (often located in very scenic surrounds), such as the Paradise Palms resort in Cairns, or the Noosa Golf Club, with its resident koalas and kangaroos.
Victoria is an obvious choice for a golfing holiday. Not only is Melbourne home to four of Australia’s 10 best golf courses (as judged by Golf Digest), several others from the Top 100 are located in the coastal regions listed below (which also have above-average appeal for golfers):
- Mornington Peninsula, Portsea, Flinders region: 44% more likely to be named as a preferred destination by people who play golf
- Great Ocean Road (Torquay, Lorne, Port Fairy etc): 18% more likely
- Melbourne: 10% more likely
NSW’s above-average popularity with Aussie golfers is also understandable. Not only does it boast the country’s highest-altitude course (Thredbo), it’s also home to the course voted Australia’s most beautiful (Bonville Golf Resort, Coffs Harbour). It’s no fluke that these destinations are among the NSW holiday spots that golfers are more likely than the average Aussie to nominate:
- North Coast, Forster, Port Macquarie, Coff’s Harbour, Taree, Port Stephens: 46% more likely
- Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Gloucester etc: 38% more likely
- Thredbo, Perisher/Smiggins: 34% more likely
Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Research’s industry communications director, Norman Morris, notes that as research has shown in the past with cycling, yoga and skiing, “a person’s sporting interests can influence the kind of holiday destinations that appeal to them — and golfers are no exception.
“What’s more, with the world’s third-highest number of golf courses per capita, Australia boasts more than its fair share of potential golfing holiday spots (including golfing resorts offering accommodation on site).
“Golfers are an important niche market for the travel industry. More than half of Aussies (51.4%) who play golf either regularly or occasionally belong to the affluent [section] of the population, which may go some way towards explaining why 65% of Australian golfers took at least one domestic holiday in the last year, compared with the 53% national average.
“But there’s a lot more to Australians who play golf than meets the eye. For one thing, they are dramatically more likely than the average Aussie to participate in a wide range of other sports as well, from cricket and skiing to tennis and soccer.
“Not surprisingly, an above-average proportion report that they are ‘always very active on holidays’ – with a correspondingly below-average proportion agreeing that they ‘like to do as little as possible’ on holiday). And that’s just for starters.
Edited by William Sykes