The chronicled history of the settlement of Utah includes the story of an ill Brigham Young being helped from his wagon to view the then desolate Salt Lake Valley. With people helping the Mormon leader stand he declared “This is the Place” [where the Mormon migration was to end]. Over 150 years later the Utah Section PGA visited the “This is the Place Monument Park” at the base of Emigration Canyon for an entirely different reason. This storied historical site became host for the 2012 Utah Golf Summit. Although the Summit discussion points may not affect Utah history to the same extent as Brigham Young’s proclamation did the Summit did signal a needed change and new promotional tactics for golf in the state.
Utah Section golf professionals, their employers, club officials, state and municipal officials, and interested golfers met together to discuss economic challenges and issues related to today game. The Utah Section spearheaded this year’s summit of ideas with the support and participation of the Utah Sports Commission and the Utah Golf Association. The goal of this joint venture was to raise awareness of the importance of the golf economy for the state. Utah Sports Commission CEO Jeff Robbins presented some compelling golf statistics gathered from the Utah Section’s Utah on Par golf economy survey program. Through these new figures he was able to show that golf was of equal economic value to Utah residents as the much promoted ski industry.
Summit attendees were also treated to a “state of the game report” and accompanying potential opportunities report by PGA Employment Consultant Jeff Beaudry. Jeff was able to present realistic view of golf in Utah. He also included several Golf 2.0 initiatives that should be a priority at local golf facilities.
Ian James from RetailTribe a frequent speaker and consultant to the PGA of America presented an updated vision for marketing and communications for the “new golf market”. His message was well received by professional and lay golfers alike. Breaking out of a traditional thinking mode became the new thought process of the conference.
A number of thought provoking question and answers were discussed and answered by a “select panel” of experts during another segment of the conference. Jeff Beaudry moderated a panel consisting of Ian James; Darci Dehlin-Olsen, female PGA Member; Mike Smith, Utah Classic (Nationwide Tour) Director; Roxie Sherwin, Director of Red Rock Golf Trails; and Mark Wetzel, Owner Director of Vanguard Golf Group and TV Golf Personality. Some great marketing strategies were discussed within that valuable segment.
The conference ended with a great treat for the conference attendees Billy Casper shared some great golf memories from his storied career. He and his co-author Lee Benson recounted the two year journey of writing the “Big Three and Me” an autobiography of many of Billy Casper’s great PGA Tour victories and experiences.
Although the venue and many of the presentations touched on historical notes the conference itself was all about change and building a new future for golf in Utah. Utah Section President Jared Barnes brought this message home in his opening remarks and again in his Summit Summary.