Thursday, September 8, 2011

PGA Fall Expo & Golf 2.0

I found myself in a weird sort of dual time capsule at the recent Fall PGA Expo in Las Vegas and it was an interesting experience.

On the surface, this looked like every other Fall PGA Expo I’ve attended.  It was small – a fractional size of the Orlando show in January – and the vendors were from the same breed of decades-old golf companies.  There were the equipmenteers, the gadgeteers, the fashioneers and the suppliers.  A few interesting things caught my eye, but for the most part it was the same old stuff.  And there were more people selling than buying.  It was a great symbolic snapshot of the golf industry.

Below this surface, however, something special was happening.  There were murmurs and words and plans of change to challenge the status quote in a real way.  It’s called Golf 2.0. I’ve been on record as believing that golf needs fundamental and significant alterations to the current model in order for the game to grow – and while little on the showroom floor represented this, Golf 2.0 does

The PGA of America recently announced Golf 2.0 as the industry’s answer to a recent Boston Consulting Group study that confirmed what those of us in the industry already knew – golf in the U.S. is a shrinking business.  The initiative has three core strategies – 1) Retain/Strengthen the Core; 2) Engage “Lapsed” Golfers (of which there are supposedly 90 million with 70% interested in returning); 3) Drive New Players.

You can read a comprehensive article about BCG’s study and Golf 2.0 in this month’s digital PGA Magazine, located here. 

PGA President Allen Wronowski had a great quote that encapsulates the initiative and why I like it:

“We need to make golf more welcoming and more relevant to women and minorities.  We need to overcome the misperception that golf costs too much, and that it has to be an 18-hole experience.  Golf is such a fun game that is ideal for families, so we now have a great opportunity to attract millions to our game who have expressed an interest in playing.  But we have to change the way we run our businesses to make that a reality.”

Amen.  I support this plan and hope to be a part of it at TGA Premier Junior Golf.

As entrepreneurs, we know that success with a new initiative has less to do with the plan and more to do with the execution, and execution comes down to the management team.  I applaud the PGA of America for recognizing this and recruiting Darrell Crall, a man I respect and admire, to lead Golf 2.0.  I’ve known Darrell for several years and couldn’t think of a better person in the industry to spearhead this initiative. 

Usually a great leader with a strong plan executes well and produces significant results, and I certainly hope that’s the outcome here. 

If you read through the Golf 2.0 report, you’ll also see that there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to capitalize on the shifting landscape the golf industry will undertake with these initiatives.  I look forward to exploring some of these opportunities on this blog.
Good luck to Darrell Crall, the PGA of America, PGA Professionals and all of the entrepreneurs who will hopefully make Golf 2.0 a huge success.


  1. The problem with the standard golf game is that it's run by traditionalists and to expect traditionalists to change their stripes by promoting a more practical and economic golf experience is not going to happen anytime soon.
    The problem is, this difficult game has been created in the old traditional image of slow & expensive golf and it's trying to compete in a changed world demanding quick, affordable & convenient FUN. For the game to survive, it has to evolve with a "less is more" mentality.

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