Golf Australia (GA) today announced the launch of TeeMates, an affordable virtual golf membership for kids under 18. GA has partnered with Youth on Course (YOC) to provide the opportunity for TeeMates members to play golf for $5 at a selection of courses across the country.
Members will gain an official GA handicap and play at golf courses for a reduced fee rate while playing in events with friends.
The aim of TeeMates is to provide opportunities for children to play golf for a reduced rate in their own time, and in events with their peers. It will also allow children to gain an official GA handicap to help them begin their lifelong golfing journey and build a connection with their local club.
The second phase of the TeeMates offering will include access to play at mini golf facilities, driving ranges and golf simulators across the country.
Prior to the development of TeeMates, Golf Australia commissioned leading research body, the National Golf Foundation to measure golf participation in Australia. The study found that more than 650,000 children across Australia participated in some form of golf in 2021-22, but only 16,241 of Australia’s club membership total of 426,384 were juniors.
David Gallichio, Golf Australia General Manager of Golf Participation, said TeeMates will play an important role in engaging Australia’s youth in a highly competitive sports participation landscape.
“We want kids across the country playing golf. To make that a reality, we need to make sure golf is affordable and make the game accessible in all its forms,” he said.
“Our goal is to create hundreds of thousands of life-long golfers – but in order to achieve this, we’ve identified the need to deliver a tailored product that allows kids to access the benefits of golf flexibly and at an affordable price point.
"Through our partnership with Youth on Course, we’re going to challenge the perception of golf’s affordability and provide as many kids as we can with the opportunity to participate in our great game.
“Youth on Course has a track record of connecting young people with the game in the United States. Our partnership is built on the mutual vision of making golf inviting, inclusive and accessible for all kids across the country.”
Adam Heieck, Chief Executive Officer of Youth on Course, said that the launch was a culmination of discussion reaching back to 2019.
“We first spoke with Golf Australia over four years ago, and we’re delighted that today our initial conversations are coming to fruition. We have nearly 2,000 partner courses and 140,000 members in all 50 U.S. states and Canada, and we are continuing to see growth every day,” he said.
“Providing the opportunity for young people in Australia to play golf for $5 or less is something that is tremendously exciting to us, and I thank James and the team at GA for sharing our vision to provide access to the sport for the next generation of golfers.”
Youth on Course aligns with Australian Golf Foundation’s fundraising efforts to make the game more accessible by breaking down the barriers to participation.
The R&A has also provided generous support to the development and launch of TeeMates and Youth on Course in Australia.
Initially, there will be 30 Youth on Course facilities spread across Australia in each state and territory, and a significant list of events that TeeMates members can access. Members will also be able to track their progress through an official Golf Australia handicap.
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Non-handicap memberships will cost $49 per year, while a TeeMates membership with a Golf Australia handicap will cost $109 annually. Part of this membership fee will be shared with a nominated club and facility for each member, as well as the PGA Member that helped introduce them to the game.
TeeMates members will also be able to access the benefit of our newly signed partnership with US Kids Golf, who have agreed to provide a USD$30 voucher to all TeeMates members that can be redeemed to join their local US Kids Golf Tour or to participate at US Kids Golf events.