Following the birth of his first child in 2014, entrepreneur Ali Terai was inspired to kick start a business that has changed the face of Australian Golf.
Recently awarded a Telstra business award for his efforts, Terai says he wanted to show his son, Marcel, that if you have “an idea, a passion and a dream, it’s worth taking giving it a crack”.
Initially, Terai says his business plan met with resistance, with one industry heavyweight describing it as “the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”. Yet despite the naysayers, Terai persisted, launching Future Golf with a Facebook post and $100 website.
Today, Future Golf’s member and partner-driven movement, boasts a community in the 1000s and has injected more than $5 million into the sport in Australia since its launch. Future Golf now have over 80 partner clubs and facilities ranging from Holey Moley, TopGolf to top private clubs like the Yarra Yarra Golf Club.
“We exist because golf needs a platform that is flexible, accessible and friendly,” Terai says.
“We wanted to create a golf community that was relaxed, where people didn’t feel out of place or embarrassed. Our core mission is growing the game, getting more people playing and guiding golfers from beginner to addict.”
Terai believes Future Golf is attracting the next generation of golfers to the sport, with the average Future Golfer a millennial rather than the Baby Boomer that the sport traditionally attracts.
“92 per cent of Future Golf members are aged between 25 and 39,” Terai says. “Diversity is a big focus, the team recently launched the $50,000 ‘Future Women’ initiative which fully sponsors 250 memberships to encourage younger women to get into golf. This initiative will single-handedly increase the 20-39yo national female participation rate by 5 per cent.”
Not bad, going considering the early feedback for his ‘stupid idea’. Rather than shutting up shop in a few months as predicted, Terai is well on his way to accomplish his mission of creating one million new golf enthusiasts.
“It was probably time to pull the pin after getting that early feedback,” he explians. “But for some reason we couldn’t. We kept hosting stupidly small events. We kept posting on social media. We kept calling clubs. Slowly, a few members started to join and then it snowballed.”
Those members are reaping the rewards, which include rounds at Australia’s best public and private courses, introductory lessons, a golf handicap, golf trips, apparel and access to Xgolf, Topgolf, driving ranges and mini golf.
Terai says members who joined say it’s changed their life, with Future Golf becoming like a “second family”.