Golf culture and strategy
Successful companies see their culture as a strategic resource that, among other things strengthen cohesion, customer satisfaction, their brand, and innovation. Can one speak of a common golf culture and how can this be part of a strategy for golf clubs?
Golf as image and brand
Golf is not a brand in the same sense as Apple or Nike, but the public perception of golf is of great importance as Clubs strive to keep their members, and attract new members, green fee players and other guests. Golf is one of the largest industries in the world - in the US the golf economy is some 70 billion USD per annum. There are powerful economic interests that desire to influence and shape the future development of the image of golf.
Large parts of the golf industry want to produce clubs and golf balls that presumably add distance to your shots. Power and distance are keywords in marketing.
Many would also like to ease the regulatory limits and ideas are launched about e g 15" cups, that you could through the ball out of the bunker, double flags and more.
Some market battery powered vehicles like Segway and golf-skateboards. The golf accessories industry each year churns out new programs and gadgets to give the
players more information about the course, the choice of clubs and more. Using apps to share your hits and misses are on the rise.
The future of golf is today discussed at many international conferences. Prior to the European Golf Course Owners conference 2014,
VISION 2020 – Explore the Future of Golf, one of the subjects was the battle between those who want to change golf and those referred to
as the traditionalists. The organizer stated that
One thing is clear: golf needs to be fun, otherwise people will select one of the many
alternative sports and activities now available.
Our view on golf culture
- Golf is a walking sport and part of a healthy lifestyle in a nice environment
- Golf is social and a nice way to hang out with your friends
- Golf needs to be less male-centric
- The Hit-it-hard-and-long concept should be toned done in favor of more focus on precision and short game golf
- Golf should basically be played in a traditional way
- There is a need for ways of playing golf that takes less time
- The rules should be made simpler and probably differentiated
- The handicap rules should be simplified and understandable by all. No Hcp-decimals
- The modernization of golf should be governed by the Golf club's strategies and not by the golf equipment manufacturers.
Golf and simplicity
One of the most central explanations of Apple's great success is Steven Jobs' focus on simplicity, and willingness to say NO to a whole range of technically possible features. Many Golf clubs are facing difficult decisions on how to develop their offering.
Is it, for example, logical to portray golf as being part of a healthy lifestyle and at the same time buy more golf cars and Segways?
Golf etiquette and slow play
We have a special page on slow play. Many can tell about almost endless waiting and people who will not let you pass. But it is important to go
from anecdotal stories, however many, to a more data-based view of the matter. Clubs will have to invest in better knowledge about golf culture. This most likely means more technology and a wise implementation with respect to people's integrity. Almost everyone would benefit from an increased and neutral knowledge about what actually happens on the course.
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Under the heading of Golf culture there is room for many other things that in many ways enrich or diminish your golf experience. Things like not talking too much with a fellow golfer, unless there is a mutual interest, that you were paired with by a booking system or at a
business golf event.
Golf and the Environment
Knowledge of how to manage a golf course in a more ecologically sustainable manner is growing. The pressure to present a course with high class increases and many have realized that eco-friendly management is also economical. When speaking about golf's societal benefits a better and more educational presentation of a golf course ecological footprint will give golf and a golf club a competitive advantage and status.
Geo is an international organization that certifies the environmental status of golf courses. E g in Sweden there are - as of October 2014 - 13 certified golf courses. See global list. The most recent in Sweden is Sigtuna GC that receives much
praise and especially for their project Sigtuna - a landscape for all..
A golfers relation to the course
We believe that golf clubs have much to gain by increasing their members' knowledge of their golf course and its maintenance. What you know more about, you respect and care more about. The course is not only a playing ground for golf shots, but also a piece of fauna and flora where you for a moment are a valued guest. We suggest that every Club has a Course day to inform its members about the course and also has a page on its home page - under Golf Culture titled something like Eco- information.
Culture must be nurtured and developed
The Project Golfkultur.se is at the moment a Swedish project.
It's about how in a broad sense what can be referred to as the golf culture affects the development of golf and how golf is perceived by various stakeholders and a wider public.
Golfkultur.se is also planned to be a shared platform to inspire all Clubs to have a page on their respective homepages that solely concerns Golf culture.
Dropgolf's role is to initiate the project. At a later stage, it would benefit from being owned and maintained by another organization in golf.
National and local
Pages about Golf culture should preferably have the same name at all Club's homepages.
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It will be much easier for everyone to find such a page on the website with an identical name on all clubs. Today, many Clubs have several pages that relate to these issues, but they have different names and are to be found in various places on the websites.
Each page must contain, among other things each club's policies and what activities they have going to improve the club's Golf Culture. The key value in this proposal is probably that the issue of Golf Culture is regularly discussed at the club and by its members.
For large parts of the golf industry growth has an intrinsic value and the manufacturers thrive on convincing golfers (mostly male golfers) of the value of their
very short product cycles. Most manufacturers are open to all kind of entertainment facilities that use their products.
As we see it, a more balanced golf market would be good. In many countries, this would mean fewer Clubs - preferably with different profiles -
with stronger balance sheets, better Profits and Loss statements and an increased capacity to be more professional - in all areas. As a result, we would see a more self- confident Golf Clubs and more visible golf culture.