1. How has your first year in office been?
After many years of working in
the golf industry I came into the role as BGIA chair with a concern over the
fragmentation within the industry and how things could possibly get done because
of this structure. Having had the chance to look closer at how our
industry is assembled it now makes more sense to me.
Golf is very specialised, it
consists of manufacturers, retailers, professionals, amateurs, club managers,
course managers, green keepers, ranges, tournaments, rules, and young golfers, so
to have one organisation or strategy covering all these aspects would be very
challenging and would probably satisfy no-ones needs.
Having had the opportunity to
meet with most of the various executives of the governing bodies and
associations in Golf, I am now much more confident that there are common
objectives for all and that they are working together. The new CEO's at the R&A,
PGA and England Golf give me great confidence that the communication and
partnerships required across the industry are in place and can be further
developed for the good of the game.
2. Can you explain what’s great about golf equipment?
I think the contribution
that the manufacturers of golf equipment have made with the millions spent on R&D
to develop better products across the board has been overlooked, maybe people
are blinded by the commercial marketing that is done but if we look at the
product development that has taken place, it has made the game more enjoyable
for everyone that plays and this must be a major factor in the future of our
For example, 20-25 years ago,
there were no electric trolleys, now the majority of players use them to make
their round of golf more enjoyable, they have allowed many mature players to
lengthen their playing careers and undulating golf courses to retain
members. Golf shoes are now as comfortable as slippers but still offer
fantastic performance and the styles and colours available are amazing!
Rainwear and base layers, mean we no longer have to dress up like Michelin Man
to play golf. With the new high-performance garments, we can keep warm AND have
freedom to swing a golf club! Golf clubs themselves have developed
incredibly, some putters now look futuristic and work beautifully, the
development of lady’s golf clubs to offer great performance is spectacular as
is the range of junior equipment which offers new players the best chance of
making a good start when taking up the game.
3. Has the market grown substantially in the UK?
I think the industry has
re-sized in recent years but is now in a strong stable position to grow again,
everyone in the industry has had to have a good look at what they have been
doing and raise their game to match the challenges of the modern world and
remain relevant in today’s market.
4. What are the most important things which create new golfers
and how are BGIA helping to promote this?
Golf needs to be
enjoyable and less formal, golf clubs are changing to become
more friendly and approachable but it is not a quick as the market would like.
I see the proprietary golf clubs being able to change quicker to match the
needs of their customers than private members clubs that are still held back by
some members wanting to keep things exactly as they were. Tradition in the game
is very important but we must change to grow and change is a challenge!
At the BGIA we have been
operating National Golf Month for the past four years, this innovative campaign
is managed by a former BGIA Chairman, Doug Poole. Doug works with Bauer Media who
generate a marketing campaign to attract more golfers to the game using a
combination of print, website articles and radio backed by National Golf
Month’s own social media support to reach out to golf clubs and professionals
around the UK.
The BGIA also feel that the
health and wellness benefits of playing golf are not promoted enough, we are
establishing a pilot test to get golf socially proscribed in doctor’s
surgeries. The BGIA also organise a charity golf day at the wonderful
Woburn Golf Club each spring to support the fantastic work done by the Golf
Foundation which develops junior golf in the UK. And, our own Grow Golf fund have
been delighted to support the On Course Foundation this year, we have paid for several
residential introductions to golf for injured service personnel to try golf
with professional instruction.
5. What precisely does the BGIA do and how does one join?
In a nutshell,
the BGIA (British Golf Industry Association) represents
UK manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of golf products and services
and provides a united voice for all members, whether large or small. We
campaign for sustained growth in value and participation across the sport and
supporting industry. Members of the BGIA are automatically members of the Federation of
Sports and Play Associations (FSPA) – Europe’s largest sport and play
The BGIA provides its members with a range of benefits and services
including export, promotion, and networking. We are a not-for-profit trade
body and so membership subscriptions are ploughed back into the various
activities we undertake on behalf of member companies.
A number of
excellent networking events are offered by the BGIA throughout the year to our
members. The Annual Dinner and Charity Golf Competition attracts over 100
top industry executives and is now a regular, highly anticipated event in the
golf industry calendar.
If you would like
to consider joining, please contact BGIA Association Manager, Ciara Morgan - firstname.lastname@example.org
6. How is golf going to achieve better publicity in the coming
I am confident that the
communication within the industry is now better than it has ever been and the
desire to have a consistent format of good news stories about golf is seen as
vital by all parties. Plans are being developed to create a structure to
bring all the stories together and for them to be presented and communicated
out to the World in a strong, positive, and consistent manner and we think that
this is a great initiative.
7. Do you think the tour stars of today could be
encouraged by various sponsoring manufacturers to help to promote the game more
at grassroots level?
The tour players can help support and shape
the future of the game, they should be fantastic role models for young golfers
who are the long-term future of golf. With the vast sums of money, they
play for at stake it is understandable that they need to remain in a "bubble"
to enable focus and avoid distractions. Players like Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros,
and Tiger Woods players have created a great legacy for themselves and the game
of golf and tour players should be encouraged and inspired by them.