On Nov. 10, 2003 in Dublin, Ohio the first Ohio Golf Summit was held. This summit was put together because of the recent weather and economic conditions that have plagued the golf industry in Ohio and surrounding areas. It was decided that we must tackle this problem as an industry and not as individual golf facilities. As revenues were declining at private and daily fee facilities alike, and budgets were being cut in every department from the pro shop to the maintenance department, it only made sense that we all work together. The Ohio Golf Summit was the first time in history that the club managers, golf professionals, golf course superintendents and owners were all in a room together to discuss the state of golf in Ohio and what we as an industry can do to help grow the game.
The panel of speakers looked like the who’s who in the national golf industry scene. This panel included Ruffin Beckwith from Golf 20/20, Walter Lankau from the National Golf Course Owners Association, Paul Metzler of the PGA of America, Tim Hacker from American Golf, Dr. Mike Hurdzan from Hurdzan and Fry Golf Architects, Tony Zirpoli of the USGA, Sara Hume of the Executive Women's Golf Association, Steve Mona, CEO of the GCSAA and Jim Awtrey, CEO of the PGA of America. Each presenter discussed what their association was doing to grow the game of golf and what they thought the particular target audience should be. After the presentations, there was time for questions and answers with the panel of speakers.
That afternoon the group broke into round tables with each table having the same three topics to discuss. The ideas from each table were then collected and some were presented to the group. Many of the ideas followed the topics presented in the morning session. Many of the golf courses came away with new ideas to try and bring new golfers to their facility. At the end of the day the main theme seemed to be that the national associations can help create ideas such as Play Golf America, but the main implementation must be at the local level to really grow the game of golf.
Submitted by John Miller, CGCS.
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