Last updated: 6 April 2020
There’s “social golf”, and then there’s the “social golfer”. The former usually refers to a golf club or society with a rich history tracing back to 1735 by way of the Royal Burgess Golf Society, and the latter refers to a person that enjoys a casual game of golf.
The Social Golfer
A social golfer (aka casual or recreational golfers) is one that does not intend to own a golf club membership and enjoys the game of golf for the challenge, and for the camaraderie.
For the past few years, op-ed articles have predicted the death of golf citing reasons for declining participation and revenues due to extreme weather conditions, slow play, golf’s steep learning curve, overly-strict club dress-codes, and even on younger people’s shorter attention spans. The numbers don’t lie. Data from Golf Australia showed an all-time low membership rate of 383,000 at the end of 2019.
As a result, the social golfer was born as the antithesis to the stiff upper lip image that golf has. Most importantly, social golfers comprise two-thirds of the global golfing population.
The Social Golf Club
On the other hand, being a member of a social golf club used to mean a different thing back in 1735, and probably all the way to the 2000s. It brought a feeling of exclusivité, reserved only for the elite and the privileged.
Consequently, the social golf club of our modern times, especially in the last 10 years, has evolved to meet the needs of social golfers. It’s all about inclusivity and doing their part in ensuring that anyone getting into the game of golf has a network to support them.
For example, a social golf club membership entitles golfers to play on different “members only” courses, and most importantly, obtain an official golf handicap. Having an official handicap would then allow golfers to participate in national or local open golf tournaments.
The best part about being a member of a social golf club is the “social” part of the club. Golfers can connect with other likeminded golfers, and build lasting friendships as a result.
In this article, we outline the differences between the three options. Read on for a comparison between Social Golf Australia, Future Golf, and Deemples to find out which option suits you best.
Social Golf Australia (SGA) is the premier social golf club in Australia with aims to build a community of active social golfers through the creation of Australia’s largest network of fun and engaging golf events.
The SGA Golf Club
Under the name “The SGA Golf Club”, they offer official golf handicaps for $95 a year around Australia. For instance:
- Your own official GOLF Link handicap swipe card.
- A starter pack with rules, etiquette and general information.
- Access to GOLF Link, Golf Australia’s national online handicapping system.
- A valid Australian affiliate handicap for one year from the date SGA registers you with GOLF Link.
- Coverage through Golf Australia’s Personal Insurance Plan (PIP) which includes 3rd party liability insurance.
The SGA Tour
In addition, SGA also offers “The SGA Tour“, which are official golf events with results entered on GOLF Link. This is definitively the “social” part of being in a social golf club. They host over 120 events a year in five States through The SGA Tour event series, The SGA Championships and other events.
However, the SGA Tour is an added-on cost of $50 to $60 a year depending on which state you’re in, but that will allow you to be eligible for the competition prizes and to participate in the Order of Merit just like the professional golf tours. There are also entry fees for every course, which covers the green fees and Novelty Prizes (NTPs, Long Drive, etc) for all players.
This is the full list of benefits for joining as an SGA Tour Member:
- SGA Tour cap, stubby-holder & 3 Srixon golf balls
- Exclusive access to premium SGA Tour events
- Priority booking preference for SGA Tour events
- Eligibility to represent the SGA Tour at 2 major events:
- Trans-Murray Matchplay (TMMP) in Corowa
- The SGA Championships on the Gold Coast
- Discount entry into the Trans-Murray Matchplay
- Exclusive discounts & offers from SGA partners
- Eligibility to win an SGA Tour Trophy at every event
- Eligible for Course Records on the Honour Board
- Compete for the six SGA Tour Trophy Titles:
- Order of Merit
- Club Championships
- 4BBB Championship
- The Vic SGA Matchplay
- Tour Golfer of the Year
- The Tour Championship
In conclusion, being a member of The SGA Tour is arguably the best part of Social Golf Australia as it provides you with a variety of other exciting courses to play in competitions for great prizes. If you are learning the game, are not a member of a club, don’t have a handicap, or are just an enthusiastic golfer simply wanting to expand your social circle, the SGA Tour is a place where you can enjoy your golf with like-minded people.
- Provides an official GOLF Link Handicap
- Supported by Golf Australia
- A long history of organising successful events
- $95/yr only gets you the official handicap
- It’s a separate add-on cost of $50-$60/yr to participate in the SGA Tour ($145-$155/yr for both)
- Games take place every weekend.
Future Golf’s humble beginnings began in 2014 as a Facebook group called GenYgolf and their aim is to create a golf community that was relaxed, where golfers didn’t feel out of place or embarrassed.
They refer to themselves as Australia’s greatest golf community for a reason, and that is mostly for the young and vibrant user base. Their original name would clue you in on the age range that Future Golf would appeal to, where 92 per cent of their 2000-strong membership are aged between 25 and 39.
Future Golf’s 4 Membership Tiers
There are 4 tiers to their membership plans, priced at $74.95 per year for the Starter, to $799 per year for The Addict. The mid-tier plans in between are The Social ($249/yr) and The Golfer ($349/yr). Future Golf also offers a monthly rate, however, it is more cost-effective if you commit to the full year of membership as you will get almost 2 months of membership for free.
As you can expect with a costlier membership, Future Golf throws in a host of benefits that can be best summed up using their own comparison chart.
In addition to the chart above, you can find the detailed list of partner golf courses and their rates on Future Golf’s website here: https://futuregolf.com.au/partners-more-info/
Why would golfers pay $249 to $799 a year to be a member of a social golf club? Firstly, being a member of Future Golf is actually a great pathway for golfers that are playing once or twice a year to transition to being a full-time member of a club playing every week. Secondly, it is a great way for golfers to get a feel for a variety of courses that would have been previously off-limits to them if not for Future Golf’s partnership with courses. Thirdly, and most importantly, if you’re in the target age range, Future Golf is by far the best option to meet other like-minded golfers.
Similarly to SGA, Future Golf also has weekly games that take place on a variety of courses called “Future Golf Tour”.
In conclusion, Future Golf provides a lot for also, unfortunately, a lot of money especially when compared to SGA. It is the perfect option if you happen to be in the target age range. Future Golf is also a great option for anyone wanting to get serious in golf.
- Has a younger, more vibrant membership base
- Great way to transition to a full-time member of a golf club
- Great community
- The cheapest plan does not include an official GOLF Link Handicap
- Restricted to playing once a week
- Pricier than SGA
While the other 2 are social golf clubs, Deemples is a FREE golf app. Where they are the same, however, is all 3 solves the problem of making it easy for people to golf. At the moment, these 6 countries will “never golf alone” – Australia (starting with VIC), Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.
Where they differ, is that Deemples fills the void that no other site does. And that is solving the problem of finding other golfers to golf with, whenever you want to golf. There are plenty of golfers that would like to squeeze in a game on the weekdays, maybe because they are on a 4-on/4-off schedule, or a quick 9-hole on Sunday evenings. The app allows you to join other golfer’s games, or to create your own and let others join you.
As mentioned previously, Deemples is a free download, and no-cost to use. It supplements social golf clubs and supports golfers when there aren’t any regularly scheduled games to join. The downside is that the handicap feature within the app is the Deemples handicap and not the official GOLF Link handicap (GOLF Link rejected the application).
Here are some examples of social golf clubs that utilises Deemples and the handy Game Results Feature to organise and automatically score their games: Kuala Lumpur Golfers Club, DJakarta Old Golf Society (D.O.G.S.), T-Drivers
- Easy to find games that are looking for players to join
- Create your own game and let others join you
- Chat with other golfers inside the app
- Based on your own schedule and when you want to play
- Built-in Game Results feature that scores tournaments automatically
- No GOLF Link Handicap
We hope you enjoyed reading our Social Golf Australia vs Future Golf vs Deemples comparison. To know more about the app please click here.