“Forbes” magazine conducted a roundtale discussion with a number of golf industry leaders to get their thoughts on the “state of the industry” as Springtime arrives and more people are headed back to the courses around the United States.
The magazine received input from: Pete Bevacqua, CEO of the PGA of America; Mike Davis, Executive Director of United States Golf Association; Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner; Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation; and Mike Whan, LPGA Commissioner.
Some comments include:
BEVACQUA: I’m bullish about the golf industry based on two key trends: The development of the next generation of golfers and the industry’s commitment to making the game more welcoming. Led by our 28,000 PGA Professionals, the number of youth golfers has grown by 29 percent to 3.1 million.
DAVIS: While there’s much to be excited about, we are particularly eager to watch the continued growth in golf participation by women and juniors. Last year, five of our USGA national championships – three of them amateur championships focused on junior and female play – accepted a record number of entries. Continuing the important conversation that we fostered last summer, we are also excited to leverage our U.S. Open Championship’s worldwide coverage to share an important and contemporary view of golf. Chambers Bay is a municipally owned course that employs efficient water and resource management practices. More importantly, it is a beautiful, multi-use public space combining a public golf course with walking trails and park space.
FINCHEM: From a competitive standpoint, I am excited about the influx of youth into the game. Young people are drawn to the athletic and exciting players who are now excelling on the PGA TOUR. Players like Rory McIlroy, who has won four majors and ascended to the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking by the age of 25, capture the imagination of our young fans. With players like Rory, Jordan Speith, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and a host of others, we are set for years of great competition.
MONA: The industry is adapting to provide shorter golf experiences – such as six or nine holes – and non-traditional forms of the game, like FootGolf, while still upholding the integrity and rules of golf. USGA handicaps now allow for nine-hole scores. This will help to increase participation among those seeking a more time-sensitive experience.
The outlook for 2015 is positive with adult and junior growth-of-the-game programs more unified than ever. The First Tee program has reached more than 10.5 million young people since it began in 1997. The network has grown to more than 175 chapters.
The entire article can be found here.