“The golf industry has been able to withstand the storm of the recent recession,” PGA of America officials said yesterday, in a business report card that reflects the continued value of golf to the consumer as a healthy and recreational activity.
The current golf business climate also attracted The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as the newest Official Patron of The PGA of America, an announcement that highlighted the annual State of the Industry Round Table at the 57th PGA Merchandise Show.
The Round Table attracted more than 30 golf journalists to meet with PGA of America President Jim Remy and Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka. The topics covered included: the current state of the industry; PGA employment; the launch of WE ARE GOLF, a coalition to better communicate golf’s positive messages to governmental leaders; and the new USGA “Grooves Rule,” and its effect on PGA Professionals competing in member and spectator championships.
Remy, vice president and general manager at Okemo Valley Golf Club in Ludlow, Vt., said that The PGA’s unemployment rate of 4.3 percent as of 1 January is one of the lowest rates in years. This low unemployment rate of PGA Professionals was emphasized as a sign of their commitment to maintain stability at their respective facilities.
“I think that says something about the stability of PGA Professionals at small businesses in America, because really, golf has more than 16,000 small businesses,” Remy said. “The importance of PGA Professionals at golf facilities is of high importance.”
Remy added, “PGA Professionals need to be part of the recovery, not the problem. I believe that golf will be in a better place, because we’ll be better run and better prepared for the future.”
Steranka said that the use of such words as “stability” and “resilience” mean different things to the golf industry when compared to other industries over the past two years.
“If you would have been the head of any other industry, and said, looking back over 2008 and 2009, would you take the number of customer visits being down 1 percent and revenue down 8 percent? ” asked Steranka. “And my guess is that a lot of the folks, especially in industries that rely on discretionary time and money would say, yeah, shoot, we’ll take that.
“And, that’s what golf enjoyed. As I said last year, ‘flat was the new up,’ which was one of the mantras beginning to come out. So, having a relatively flat participation rate was good, and it happened because PGA Professionals did what they do best, and that’s the reason our unemployment is low. They are adding value. People do want to come out and play this game because it’s healthy and fun.”
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