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GOLF and government go way back. According to the book How Did Sports Begin?, the earliest reference to the game was in 1457, when the Scottish parliament moaned it was keeping people from worthy pursuits such as archery and ordered that golf be "utterly cryit doun, and nocht usit".

Now the golf industry claims no other sport contributes more to the economy and for the first time yesterday had a formal gathering in Canberra with politicians.

As well as showing the Sport Minister, Kate Ellis, how to swing a club, industry figures got in politicians' ears about everything from the public health benefits of golf to the impact of climate change on courses.

Ms Ellis was told golf was a $2.7 billion industry which provided work to 23,000 people, based on 2004 data.

That year, Australians spent $48.5 million just on golf balls.

Australia boasts 1530 courses and about a million people play some 30 million rounds every year, but club membership is declining and the biggest group of golfers is aged between 55 and 64. Many people no longer have enough time to play 18 holes.

The chairman of the Australian Golf Industry Council, Max Garske, said golf had to become "more time attractive" through innovations such as nine-hole competitions and handicaps.

Another big issue was that, to read more click here



THE Asian Tour has banned four Australian golfers for playing on the rival OneAsia Tour at the Volvo China Open.

Jason King, Chris Gaunt, Brad Kennedy and Ashley Hall had appeals rejected and were banned for the rest of the season, in a decision in Singapore. 

They were also hit with a maximum $6377 fine. 

They were penalised for opting to play the China Open without getting an official release from the Asian Tour, of which they are members. 

All other Asian Tour players, except those who qualified through the European Tour, boycotted the event amid an ongoing row over OneAsia's emergence. To continue reading click here


Geoff Ogilvy is excited for more than one reason for the Australian Masters later this year. The venue that will stage the event is reason number one for him. "I would probably go out on a limb and say it's the best golf course I'll play a golf tournament on in 2009, so that's pretty exciting," he said. The second reason has to do with #1 as in the world’s best player. "It's pretty exciting, we haven't seen him in Australia since Presidents Cup in '98, so since then that's 11 years," Ogilvy added. "All the kids who are teenagers now haven't seen him in the flesh and he's probably got 13 majors under his belt since then." To read more click here


It appears the blokes and Sheilas down under are upside down over the impending visit by the world’s #1 player. Tiger Woods won’t be in Oz until November but his arrival is already expected to be quite a warm one. Ticket sales for the Aussie Masters wen ton sale recently and demand for them appears quite brisk. To read more click here


The 23-year-old from Sydney backed up his opening round 79 with a 78 to miss the cut by a dozen strokes at The London Club. 

England's Anthony Wall celebrated his 34th birthday with an impressive second round 69 to move to sit at seven-under par. 

Wall and Frenchman Christian Cevaer sit one shot behind joint leaders Michael Lorenzo-Vera, also of France, and India's Jeev Milkha Singh, who both shot 69. 

Overnight leader, South African Thomas Aiken, collapsed in round two to miss the cut. 

Aiken was eight-under par after eight holes in his second round, but he then bogeyed the 9th and took 46 on the windswept back nine - including a triple bogey seven on the 14th and quadruple bogey 9 at the next. 

His 81 left him three over, two strokes shy of the cut-off. He has some infamous company. To read more click here


World No.1 ranked amateur Scott Arnold has become the latest Australian golfing whiz kid to turn professional.

The 23-year-old Australian Amateur champion will make his pro debut in this week's European Open in England.

Unlike some recent Australian amateur stars like Jason Day, Arnold aims to make his mark on the European tour rather than heading to the US.

The Sydneysider - who took over the world No.1 amateur ranking last month when New Zealander Danny Lee turned pro after the Masters - likes the links-style course more commonly found on the European tour. To continue reading click here


The banking business isn’t what it used to be and one large institution has decided to reduce its investment in golf. HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, announced it won’t be renewing its deal to sponsor the New Zealand PGA Championship. The company had a three year run with the event but decided not to maintain its relationship thus leaving the tournament organizers holding the bag. To read more click here


Danny Lee's handlers have moved quickly to plug a hole in the teen golfer's support team as he prepares for a particularly busy period on the PGA Tour in the United States.

The 18-year-old reigning US Amateur champion, who turned professional last month, last week lost the services of New Zealand caddie Anthony Knight.

Knight was uncomfortable with new work conditions imposed on him after it was felt that Lee would benefit from operating alongside a variety of bag handlers.

He had planned to be at Lee's side for the remainder of this year as the Korean-born New Zealand-raised prodigy seeks to win enough money to give him full playing status on the PGA Tour.

Instead, Knight is now seeking alternative employment while IMG, Lee's management company, has arranged for American Don Donatello to join the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic champion for the $US6.5 million ($A8.5 million) Byron Nelson Championship starting at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, on Friday (AEST). To read more click here

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