What is the State of the Game?

Author: Pete Bevaqua, PGA CEO

Over the past few years, the golf industry has seen numerous negative articles on the decline of the game.  PGA of America’s staff under the leadership of PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua, has spent countless hours in promoting the efforts of PGA Professionals growing the game of golf, in order to negate the impact of these stories.

During the Masters, CEO Bevaqua participated on the “State of Golf Panel” hosted by Forbes Magazine, along with:

  • Mike Davis, Executive Director of USGA
  • Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
  • Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation
  • Mike Whan, LPGA Commissioner

These leaders spoke directly on the economic health of the business of golf. Here are some of  Pete’s comments from that panel discussion.

What is your view of golf for 2015?
Golf is on a positive turn, and it is encouraging to see golf participation rates start to produce positive momentum, especially among youth. We’re making an impact across all demographics through key initiatives, such as Get Golf Ready, PGA Junior League, and Drive, Chip and Putt.

The PGA of America is bullish on the golf industry based on some key trends:
1. Development of the next generation of golfers
2. Industry’s commitment to making golf more welcoming

Led by our 28,000 PGA Professionals, the number of youth golfers has grown by 29% to 3.1 million golfers. Our recent acquisition of PGA Junior League Golf elevates our youth commitment. PGA Junior League participation nearly doubled last year to more than 17,000 boys and girls.

In June, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will be held at Westchester Country Club. The PGA is deeply committed to elevating the women’s game, and we’re excited to partner with KPMG and the LPGA to host this major. The championship also will host an innovative symposium for top businesswomen, so they can discover how the game serves as an opportunity to forge relationships and foster leadership skills. Through our partnership with KPMG and the LPGA this Championship will act as a platform to inspire girls and women to participate in golf throughout their lives.

What did you hope to accomplish with National Golf Day, April 15?
By communicating the PGA of America’s mission of serving our Members and growing the game of golf, we show that our PGA Professionals are leaders in golf and in their communities. It is imperative we promote golf’s nearly $70 billion annual economy, $4 billion annual charitable impact, and environmental value and fitness benefits.

Another critical component to our meetings on National Golf Day will bring awareness to programming we deploy to grow the game of golf. Get Golf Ready has grown exponentially over the past year.  The industry wide initiative is now comprised of 62% women and 21% minorities, with 88% who participated in 2014 having little or no golf experience. There were more than 99,000 students in Get Golf Ready in 2014 and a growth rate of 15% in its sixth year.

(National Golf Day is an annual event where our leadership spends the day at the United States Capitol with our country’s leaders).

This is an example of the day-to-day work that goes in fulfilling the mission of the PGA of America for serving the member and growing the game of golf.

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