Apr 12, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News- President of the Guyana Golf Association Aleem Hussain said that 2020 and so far in 2021, golf is showing a remarkable surge in both participation and rounds played despite uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year might actually be more positive than even predicted, and the golf industry groups worldwide are calling it “a year of resurgence”.
Specifically, the growth numbers in many cases set all-time records in many categories, and the number of golfers coming to the game in 2020 was only a small indication of the enthusiasm around the sport in Guyana.
“There hasn’t been this much optimism and new activity in the golf in the history of the country,” said Aleem Hussain, GGA president, in a recent update noting “The covid-19 restrictions allowed golf, one of the few fully compliant sports to flourish and attract new players. Additionally, the introduction of the game in 42 schools around the country fueled the growth since thousands of students now have access to sport.”
The GGA said that while golfers in the U.S. in 2020 increased by two percent over 2019, the largest net increase in 17 years, that is nothing in comparison to Guyana’s growth of over 3,000.
New players (both beginners and golfers coming back to the game for the first time in years) numbered 3,220, the highest in a single year.
Last year also saw the largest percentage increase in beginning golfers and the biggest gain in youth golfers coming to the game. Women golfers also were part of the 2020 surge, jumping to 450 active players, up from just 5 in 2019.
The GGA indicated that the biggest driver of the rounds played wasn’t exclusively new golfers. Rather, it was the “core golfers” (more than ten rounds a year) who really upped their games. The report cites “existing players (roughly 20 percent of the core-golfer population)” fueled the boost in the average rounds played per golfer.
“We are still in a massive transition,” Hussain said, “2020 was a massive growth year, 2021 will be an even greater transition year and I think the golf landscape is going to have more energy, more momentum, more active participants than any other sport in the country by end of 2022.”
The GGA expects to see more than 12,000 active golfers playing the sport in the next 12 months, a feat that will catapult Guyana to regional dominance. The demand for additional Golf courses and training programmes will increase and we can expect to see at least 8-10 new playing facilities under development to meet the demand.
The game must adapt to the new normal and we see people wanting faster results and not having enough time to spend 5 hours in the sun. The Guyana Golf Association and Nexgen Golf Academy has created a 3-Hole model that is similar to cricket’s 20/20 version and expects that this will change the way Golf is played worldwide.
Additionally, the design concept of smaller courses created by Hussain allows easier access for thousands of urban players and drastically reduces maintenance costs. This helps to eliminate high membership fees and provides dozens of jobs locally for caddies, maintenance and clubhouse staff.
The Nexgen Golf Academy is located on Woolford Avenue in the heart of Georgetown. There are no membership fees and it is open daily to practice and teach anyone who has an interest.
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