THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP industry lunch in support of HSBC Golf Roots™ was held at Royal Birkdale on Wednesday, 19th July; Ben Evans reports.
Many present said it was a particularly popular event this year, with an upbeat mood on the nature of the industry going forwards, despite the significant challenges that the game faces. A much-heard conversation featured the requirement for the sport to listen more to the needs of its customers in terms of offering exciting playing options, more flexible formats, while not forgetting all the good elements that still make golf a top 5 sport.
Director of SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., Richard Payne welcomed the audience and recapped on the various research projects that SMS INC. have undertaken on behalf of the golf industry, before colleague John Bushell delivered his always popular ‘fast-facts’ talk on the people and products which make this industry tick, with his customary wit and a wealth of unusual sporting stats to applause from the room.
BGIA Chairman Phil Morley spoke with experienced insight, including the need for the industry to work together to make the game appealing for both those already playing and for the next generation of customers. He also said that it was important for manufacturers to keep creating those products to excite consumers.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, spoke passionately about the need to show to youngsters that golf can be fun, inclusive and a game for life as the charity works hard with industry partners to help more young players ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the game. The Foundation encourages kids to learn and embrace the ‘Skills for Life’ the game offers and he referred back to a personal highlight of the year, watching the Sergio/Justin contest at The Masters, played with great sportsmanship.
Ian Peacock and Paul Jepson, two veterans of the lunch having attended the very first one in 1985, were warmly applauded while the hard work of Di Gilder (SMS INC), Ciara Morgan (BGIA) and Sarah Sorrell (Golf Foundation) was certainly recognised.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org