The PGA of America is championing a new initiative to grow the game called Golf 2.0. The concept, which targets the new era in golf, (thus 2.0) aims to substantially boost the number of golfers and much needed revenue.
Is Golf 2.0 a plan for our game's future or a well-conceived prayer?
We are all painfully aware golf is in a skid. According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golfers declined by about 1 million from 2009 to 2010. The NGF recently posted, "Since 2001 golf rounds have declined 12 percent nationwide, which is the equivalent of 60 million rounds."
I was not familiar with Golf 2.0 until I attended a recent Colorado Golf Summit and heard a presentation by Darrell Crall. Crall is the PGA's Senior Director for Golf 2.0.
According to Crall, Golf 2.0 is envisioned as an industry-wide effort to increase the number of players and the revenue generated by the golf industry. Specifically, the Golf 2.0 vision is to go from 26.1 million golfers and $33 billion in consumer spending in 2011 to 32 million golfers and $35 billion in consumer spending by 2016. The 2020 vision is 40-plus million golfers and $40 billion in consumer spending. (To view Crall's entire presentation go to www.coloradopga.com and click on Golf 2.0)
Based on golfer and non-golfer focus groups and other research, various key demographic and consumer megatrends were developed. In addition the following Golf 2.0 action plan tasks were identified:
According to the PGA, to meet the goals of Golf 2.0, the industry needs to implement a strategy which:
The PGA golf professional is positioned to take the lead in this initiative. To this end, the PGA has made enhanced training for golf professionals in the recruitment and retention of players a top priority. Superintendents should also embrace this effort. By their very nature, superintendents are great problem solvers and foster innovative ideas all the time.
The time for action is now. The success of Golf 2.0 depends on each course or club developing an action plan which includes fortifying the core while extending a welcoming hand to the millions of potential golfers waiting on the sidelines.
In the final analysis, whether Golf 2.0 becomes a viable plan or turns out to be just a prayer is up to all of us.