27 Feb 2017
Huge crowds lined Royal Adelaide's fairways all week. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Record crowds witnessed the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.
Beating last year’s mark at nearby The Grange, 2017 host Royal Adelaide welcomed 32,064 through its gates, setting a new high-water mark for the women’s national championship.
And the cream on the cake for Golf Australia and South Australia is that online engagement soared among women and from different corners of the globe exposed to one of Australia’s premier courses.
Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt was delighted with the figures who watched Korean sensation and new world No.5 Ha Na Jang salute on a dramatic final round on Sunday.
“We’ve been building something special with the assistance of the LPGA Tour and its players and this year has gone to another great level,” Pitt said.
“We were thrilled with how Adelaide got behind the tournament at The Grange last year and South Australians have again shown their support and appetite for elite golf by attending in record numbers at Royal Adelaide.
“The feedback we’ve had at almost every level has been overwhelmingly positive and the ongoing support of our sponsors and players has generated unprecedented interest.”
GA digital director John Sutherland said the international nature of the field was key to its global appeal with a doubling of traffic from the United States, United Kingdom, India and Thailand.
“Overall we maintained our big audience on womensausopen.com from the previous year, but obviously players such as Michelle Wie, Aditi Ashok and Ariya Jutanugarn spike the interest in various parts of the world,” Sutherland said.
“Importantly for the future, we had 10 per cent more females come to the site than last year and there was a huge spike in the 25-34 year-old segment (25 per cent) who came to the site.
“Consumption of video content nearly doubled – 33,915 views this year compared to 18,662 last year – and our social media reach surged again.
“Hundreds more liked our Facebook with total page likes now exceeding 5,700 and we broke through the 5,000 barrier on Twitter, too – not bad for a standalone event.”
The 2018 Women’s Australian Open will be played at nearby Kooyonga, revered for its impeccable turf quality.