|Stephen Pitt - CEO, Golf Australia|
|Profile of the week|
Saturday, 26 October 2013 22:23
Stephen Pitt is the Chief Executive Officer of Golf Australia.
He was appointed CEO of the governing body in 2008 replacing predecessor Tony Hallam.
Previously he was the CEO of Golf Queensland. As CEO of Golf Queensland, Mr Pitt played a key role in the successful merging of the Queensland Golf Union and Women’s Golf Queensland in 2007.
Mr Pitt was also the CEO of Queensland Athletics from 2001 to 2006.
A member of Brisbane Golf Club and with a handicap of 10, Mr Pitt has also worked in high-level project management and marketing including the launch of Virgin Blue Airlines in Australia.
He has also worked as a marketing executive with the Queensland Olympic Council and Surf Lifesaving Queensland.
By Ismail Uddin
You have a range of experience at various governing bodies in sport. What was the great interest with Golf Australia?
Golf has long been a great passion of mine and it is a privilege to work in a job that you care deeply about. Beyond that golf is a significant industry that employs 23,000 people and contributes over $2.95 billion into the Australian economy each year. Given that and the profile of the sport, my job is a very interesting and diverse one.
According to the Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC), there were more Australian Golf Club members in 2012. How has Golf participation rates changed in recent years in Australia?
Golf club membership has gone through a period of slow decline in Australia in recent years. This is due to a range of factors including an increasingly time-poor community. Despite the decline in membership, the number of competition rounds being played in Australia continues to increase. We saw a 5.4% increase in competition rounds of golf played in 2012-2013 versus 2011-2012 and there are more than 1 million social players in Australia each year. With that in mind, there are lots of reasons for optimism.
Adam Scott became the first Australian in seven years to win a major at the Masters. Has this boosted participation numbers and will you look to use this achievement to your benefit?
Adam’s win remains of the great results in the history of Australian sport and something that many people, both golf fans and the wider community, will remember for many years to come. April 2013 delivered the highest number of competition rounds played in any month over the entire financial year – clear evidence of how many golfers were inspired to get out on course and play more golf following his win. We’ll look to do additional activities with Adam when he comes back to Australia later this year and expect his appearance at the major tournaments will have another positive impact on participation and hopefully inspire new golfers of all ages.
What different strategies do you put into place to boost participation in the Sport?
Golf Australia works across a range of game development areas to increase engagement in the sport. MYGolf is Australia’s national junior program and development pathway consisting of clinics, school programs, skill challenges, advice for parents, junior equipment and much more. Since its launch in 2010, the program has gone from strength to strength and now has more than 400 accredited centres delivering the program to more than 4,500 participants across Australia and a syllabus which is available to schools.
Golf Australia also coordinates a social golf program for non- golf club members and we are currently working on a number of projects including increasing female participation in the sport.