More than 300 leaders and representatives from a diverse cross-section of the golf industry participated virtually in the 2021 National Golf Day conference on May 12. The event focused on strengthening the ongoing collaboration needed to advance the game’s appeal and increase its accessibility amongst those traditionally underrepresented in golf while also building on the overall increased interest in the sport.
PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Seth Waugh, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, and former LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan were keynote speakers during the virtual National Golf Day General Session. The leaders organized the industry last summer around addressing two critical opportunities: building on the momentum that golf has experienced since the pandemic began and bringing greater diversity to the game. Waugh, Monahan, and Whan commented on the work accomplished so far through the broad-based industry collaboration and further pledged their organizations’ collective support of the ongoing efforts.
The session included a panel discussion with Sandy Cross of the PGA of America, Laura Diaz of the LPGA Foundation, and Neera Shetty of the PGA TOUR. The panelists provided insights into the various working groups that have assembled over the last several months to further delve into industry Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts. With particular emphasis on education, skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources, youth and adult player development, and marketing/communications, these workgroups have brought together ideas and voices from all backgrounds and continue to grow in size and inclusivity.
“It’s human nature to spend our leisure time in places that we feel comfortable,” said Cross.
“It’s human nature to want to spend time around people that look like us or come from backgrounds similar to our own. More people will want to spend time playing golf if they see others that look like themselves enjoying the game or having a successful career in the sport.”
One tangible outgrowth of the marketing/communications workgroup unveiled during National Golf Day through “Make Golf Your Thing,” a multi-faceted, multi-year initiative to invite more people into the sport from all backgrounds, and significantly those traditionally underrepresented.
The idea was introduced by PGA TOUR Chief Marketing Officer Matt Corey alongside Jim Beatty of Jim Beatty Golf Ventures and Charles Dillahunt from the PGA of America. Make Golf Your Thing also aims to provide context to the movement and invite the entire industry to leverage the creative assets and spirit of the campaign.
“We want to invite everyone to try golf in their own way,” said Corey. “Whether that means going to a driving range, a Topgolf, putt-putt, playing in their backyard, or playing on a local public course, Golf can be whatever you want it to be. We’re partnering with facilities all over the country to invite people out to try Golf and enjoy everything our sport has to offer.”
Participating industry partners will leverage their combined owned media assets to spread the message and invite people. The messaging includes but is not limited to PSAs in golf tournaments telecasts, websites and social media accounts, digital media, paid social media, email, and in-venue screens of Topgolf locations and participating golf course facilities nationwide.
For a listing of the National Adult Golf Programs and National Youth Golf Programs and additional resources, visit the organization website here.