I am very lucky to have had a life working in the golf business and playing golf.  Having completed eight months as BGIA Chairman it is interesting to reflect on what I have learnt and how my perceptions and understanding of the industry have changed.

During my first meeting with Jane Montgomery, the FSPA Managing Director, Jane gave me a detailed overview of the industry and the major stakeholders in it.  It quickly struck home just how fragmented the industry is. However, I now have a better understanding of how large the golf industry is and the need for specialised skills across the various sectors of the game.  

I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the Chief Executives in the industry and I have been really impressed with their respect for the traditions of the game.  They share an understanding of the need to be relevant in today’s market, a passion for the game and the expertise and determination to deliver results.    

Golf has received a lot of negative press in recent years and perhaps lacked the cohesion to promote and market all the positive stories and benefits of our great game, something I believe the leaders of the industry are aware of, and will develop together going forward.  We have challenges (what dynamic industry or business doesn’t?) but I do believe that across the industry we have a great foundation and drive to grow the game of golf.  

The BGIA continue to work closely with the Golf Foundation and National Golf Month does a wonderful job of promoting golf to people outside the golfing world, inviting them to give it a try.  We are also pleased to be working with the On-Course Foundation to help promote playing and working within the golf industry for injured service people.   

Within the golf industry the health benefits of playing golf, both physical and mental, are under-promoted and we are working on an exciting pilot test project with the NHS to socially prescribe golf in doctors’ surgeries.  The objective is to have a poster in every surgery across the UK promoting the health benefits of golf and linked into a local golf club to introduce the newcomer to our great game.  This activity will have the added benefit of promoting golf clubs as friendly and approachable places, which is vital for the future of our game.  

The BGIA are shortly going to start working on pulling together a presentation to assist member companies to induct new employees into our industry. The presentation will detail how the various associations within golf work within their own specialised areas for the greater good of the game. Each organisation such as the PGA, the BGIA, the R&A and England Golf etc will be given a focus.

With challenges come opportunities, and I am excited that the structure of our industry is solid. We are in a great position - across all areas and with the great leadership and energy we have - I see a bright future for the game of golf.