Media – friend or foe?
That’s the name of a session that will be held Monday at the Golf Business Canada Conference and Trade Show in Montreal.
To preview that show, hear what Jeff Calderwood, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada had to say about it here.
Calderwood will be on the panel, along with Bob Weeks of ScoreGolf, Ana Leaird, senior vice president of PGA Tour communications, and Danny Jackson, director of golf for Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ont.
John Gordon will moderate the panel and I know he paid extra when he put himself through the car wash to take off a layer of dust before leaving for Montreal, so he must be taking it seriously.
They’ll be talking about the relationship between golf operators and the media and one of the topics that will be discussed will be the stories that appeared during the summer that weren’t exactly flattering to the golf industry.
As the intro to the session put it …
“Media reports on the golf industry this summer have been nothing short of brutally negative. This is telling our consumers that golf courses are desperate and will go to any lengths to get customers. Does excessive discounting sound familiar? This negative reporting is creating an atmosphere where consumers are expecting courses to give up their green fees for nothing and discouraging anyone thinking of taking up the game that they better find a different sport as this one is in big trouble.”
Scott Simmons, CEO of Golf Canada, talked about some of the stories that appeared in this GNN audio clip from last week.
These stories appeared in a year in which Dick’s Sporting Goods in the U.S. got rid of hundreds of golf employees, equipment manufacturers reported less than stellar sales and golf course closings again made headlines.
The year began with the introduction of Hack Golf, which was an idea-driven effort to deal with dwindling participation. As Gordon pointed out to me last week, name another industry in which its leaders would publicly be going to such lengths to talk about what trouble it’s in.
Then again, does that mean you quit openly discussing any ideas that might grow participation? How do you approach the subject positively and avoid it becoming a negative if the media is watching? It definitely was watching and writing this year.
That’s why it’s important that the industry discuss its relationship with the media and that will be done at the NGCOA conference.
It’s important to point out that the stories that we’ve linked to in this blog were written with a business angle and there were some troubling indicators in golf this year.
Is golf dead? I don’t think so and I know Gordon, Weeks or anyone else on the panel agree with me, but we see more of the industry through our everyday dealings.
Personally, I think it goes beyond supply exceeding demand in golf courses and just a cyclical dip in participation. There are changes in society that need to be addressed, but having said that, other industries and businesses need to adjust, as well. I think golf will do that eventually.
“Why Canadian golf is dying,” the headline on the Maclean’s story, raised a lot of eyebrows when it first appeared, but at the same time, there are challenges for the industry that must be overcome.
So where do you cross the line between truth and sensationalism? Did the media cross that line this year? Would you even agree to talk to the media about the state of the industry?
If somebody from the media requested an interview to talk about the state of the industry, would you agree to do it?
- YES (91%)
- NO (9%)
And if you’d like to add a few more thoughts, please do so in the Comments section below.