As I assume the role of past-president of the Alberta PGA, I’d like our membership to take a hard look at what they’re doing with their careers.
Now, more than ever, we need to be out showing owners and boards what an asset we are to the business and what we bring to the business.
I think golf professionals, in general, want to be on the leading edge of education. You always want to be improving your teaching skills, promoting the game and growing the game.
Rounds of golf and the number of golfers are definitely a concern right across the country. I challenge our golf professionals to take a hard look at not only ways we can grow the game, but also how we can keep people in the game, whether it comes from junior development or beginner programs for women and men.
We have to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the reason we got into this industry – for the passion of the game and the passion for growing the game. We’ve got to look at each end of the spectrum and demographics to see where our focus should be.
It doesn’t matter how old they are – people can still take up the game, but then, we must concentrate on keeping them in the game. Our average handicap isn’t getting any better, so we have to make sure people have access to programs and promote them.
I work out of a private club, so we exist within our own bubble, so to speak, but there are a lot of players out there who don’t have clubs and we need to make golf accessible and affordable for those people.
That’s a real challenge and I don’t have a cure-all answer for it, but I think we’ve got to make sure we’re always out promoting the game and promoting its longevity and the fact that all ages can play. There are great things that come from being a member of a golf club and there are great things that come from just playing the game.
We held a focus group recently and we were talking about there not being anything bad about having nine-hole leagues, especially for career people.
Time is so valuable right now. People are having to work harder and they are spending more time doing it. I look at the City of Calgary and the time it takes to get anywhere and do anything. It’s not unheard of to see busy streets at 6 a.m.
Between raising your kids and getting them to daycare and jobs, people are on the go. They spend a lot of time in their vehicles, getting from Point A to Point B, so all of those things have to be taken into account by the golf industry.
If you’ve got a student who wants to take five lessons, a lot of people will want to do them within three weeks because that’s their time frame. We have to be more accommodating and understanding of our member’s and customer’s time and the value of it.
People are busy, even on the golf course, judging by the way their blackberries are going. I’ve talked to women, for example, who say they’d like to see a 13-hole golf course, with 18 holes being too much and nine not being enough.
These are all things that we will have to consider going forward as golf continues to evolve with the times and golf professionals seek to enhance their careers and grow the game at the same time.