There have been a lot of comments, criticisms and armchair quarterbacking on the Canadian Tour’s white paper and the Golf Canada/RCGA name change, so I’ll jump into the fray and offer my two cents.
In golf instruction, a great instructor understands what the student is doing incorrectly and why and what he needs to be doing correctly and why. Finally, the instructor is going to help the student accomplish the correction.
It’s pretty simple and if I use the same process to the “pro gap” issue, the problem has been identified, the correction has been suggested, but no one has a clue on how to get the correction accomplished.
The solution to this is very simple and our Canadian PGA executive director Gary Bernard came close to suggesting the solution when he commented on corporations getting involved when he said, “there has to be a business case for it, so there is a return on investment”.
In business, we have angel investors and business investors.
Angel investors provide funding because they like you, they like the project or they have an emotional connection.
A business investor simply looks at the business plan among other things – the ROI, market conditions, etc. His financial people project chances of success and run the numbers, then business instinct says yes or no without an emotional connection.
Here’s the beauty of golf.
We can make a business case to both types of investors. We just need to figure out how. Here is where I make my armchair quarterback comments.
What Golf Canada, the Canadian PGA and Canadian Tour need to do is to make supporting and developing players, (be it amateur or young professionals) a business and create or support a separate company whose sole purpose is to do just that.
The current problem in trying to do it with all three groups together is that the message and responsibility gets blurred.
Golf Canada’s function as seen by most Canadians is to administer the Rules of Golf; conduct amateur and open championships; look after our hall of fame and, in general, it is viewed as the parent of amateur golf in Canada;
The Canadian Tour runs professional golf tournaments…period.
The Canadian PGA is an association for members who make a living from golf and the people who play it at a club level.
Not one of these groups are experts in the development/support field, yet all three play a big part and benefits from its success, which is where the challenge is when trying to get corporations or individuals to support the cause.
The player support group would be high profile, given its goal. It would have responsibilities and accountabilities and, most important, it would have to run very cleanly like a business.
You don’t want to create confusion by having funds going into different association labyrinths and indirectly supporting programs and operations that have nothing to do with the product your selling which, in this case, is player development and support.
There is a way to do this, to create a model that corporations and individuals can get behind, support and get their returns on investment, be it monetary or emotional, but it will need a significant shift in thinking and, more importantly, the letting go of some long held beliefs on who does what and who is responsible for the outcome.