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Holiday in one: the preferred destinations of Aussie golfers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – December 2015 (n=15,367). Thumbnail image: copyright Mike Hauser, Flickr Creative Commons
As any travel agent or tourism operator would know, golfing holidays are big business. Not only do some 1.9 million Australians 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. Roy Morgan Research reveals which domestic destinations hold special appeal for the country’s aspiring Greg Normans and Karrie Webbs…

The latest findings from 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, as the chart below indicates. In fact, the only state which golfers have a below-average interest in visiting is South Australia.

Australian states where golfers would most like to spend a holiday vs population average


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – December 2015 (n=15,367).


States of play

Delving a bit deeper into which destinations in Queensland, Victoria and NSW appeal especially strongly to golfers, a rather unsurprising – but striking nonetheless – pattern soon 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

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“As we have 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 AB or C socio-economic quintiles* 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.

“With the kind of in-depth demographic, attitudinal and behavioural insights that only Roy Morgan can provide, destination marketers stand a greater chance of understanding this lucrative niche market on and off the golf course, thereby enabling them to devise more targeted communications.”

* NB: A note on socio-economic quintiles: Roy Morgan Single Source collects thousands of data points from each survey respondent, allowing us to segment the Australian population in many ways. Socio-economic quintiles segment the population based on education, income and occupation, with AB being the top-scoring quintile and FG being the lowest.

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Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%