Golf mag: Social Golf Australia (SGA) is # 1 Social Golf Network
In December 2015, Inside Golf Magazine ran a feature on Social Golf in Australia. Below are some excerpts from the feature.
The Social Network – December 2015, Inside Golf Magazine
Social Golf in Australia is, in a word, booming. What was once a small (and often disdained) segment of the golf arena has now become the majority player in a flourishing industry, with the words “Social Golf” becoming the hot buzzword at many clubs.
Social Golf numbers have outpaced the private clubs in terms of growth over the years, as time-poor families and individuals have changed their habits when it comes to playing this great game of ours. This has led to the establishment of many highly respected Social Golf Networks and clubs. Social Golf Australia led the way in this regard back in 2006, and they have now been joined by other professionally-run organisations/groups throughout the country*, with many offering official Golf Australia handicaps, professionally-run events, golf tours and more.
* New businesses such as The Social Golf Club and GenY Golf are examples of recent attempts by competitors of SGA to imitate the model that has been developed by SGA over the last decade.
Social Golf Australia
Social Golf Australia (SGA) is Australia’s largest and longest-running Social Golf network and has long been considered to be innovators in the Australian social golf market.
SGA founder Matthew Pitt says the idea for SGA formed in 2006 when he learned there were 700,000 social golfers in Australia. He and his pals were in that group but there were few options for social golfers to get a handicap and play competitions.
After meeting with Golf Australia, it was clear to Pitt that there was an opportunity to offer handicaps and events for social golfers. Pitt qualified as an official handicapper, became a national handicap provider and started organising events for golfers around Australia.
“We decided to go with the name Social Golf Australia at a time when the words ‘Social Golf’ weren’t popular. In some circles there was an unfair stigma attached to being a social golfer. My wife Sally and I have always been social golfers and we decided to go with the name SGA even though many advised us against it,” says Pitt.
A family business which started from a home office, SGA now has event managers around Australia hosting over 100 SGA Tour events each year. Today, SGA events feature over $75,000 of prizes thanks to major sponsors Srixon, Golf Clearance Outlet, Good Food Gift Cards, Heathcote Winery and Garmin. The SGA Golf Club has also provided handicaps for 1000s of Australian golfers.
In 2014 SGA partnered with GOLF Link to be the official event manager for the GOLF Link Race Series. SGA continues to go from strength to strength but, according to Pitt, SGA being an innovator and the first in the Social Golf market means very little.
“Social Golf is the flavour of the month now and we have competitors jumping on the Social Golf bandwagon, some even imitating the model that SGA has been developing for years. That’s ok – it’s a free market and it gives golfers options.”
“It’s not important that we were the first - our priority is continuing to offer golfers an affordable alternative with flexibility and choice. We are a family business offering personal service and we want golfers enjoying the game and friendships built on the golf course. SGA offers an inclusive club culture that all golfers are welcome to share and enjoy. We think that approach has served us well for a decade and fostering a fun and friendly golfing community is important to our golfers and is what sets SGA apart.”