Golf 20/20 aims new grow-the-game program at adults


The World Golf Foundation's Golf 20/20 coalition of industry leaders has unveiled a new program designed to bolster the efforts of established programs such as Link Up 2 Golf and the PGA of America's Play Golf America to introduce new players to golf.

The new initiative, called "Get Golf Ready," specifically targets adults who either have never played golf or have had only limited exposure to the game.

Launched Nov. 11 at the Golf 20/20 meeting at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., Get Golf Ready is a golf facility-level program. It offers a series of five 60- to 90-minute small-group lessons for beginners or former players, followed by a series of group play outings.

The program is generally priced at $99 for participants, and will include not only play lessons, but also an introduction to the game's etiquette, rules, values and the golf facility itself.

The five-year program could conceivably attract up to 700,000 new golfers, playing 5.7 million rounds and generating up to $700 million in new overall golf spending, according to research projections referenced by Nike Golf President Cindy Davis, who chaired the Golf 20/20 Player Development Committee.

Beginning with an initial launch at around 300 facilities in the spring of 2009, the committee hopes to have up to 3,000 facilities participating in the program by 2011 and as many as 5,000 by the end of five years.

"The enthusiastic response we are receiving from all segments of the industry for this program is extremely gratifying," said Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation. "It's clear that golf's leaders are energized by the prospect of this new initiative helping to grow interest and participation in our game."

Organizers are currently raising funds among industry organizations and stakeholders to fund national, regional and local advertising and promotional campaigns to reach out to potential players. The funds will also be used to encourage facilities to support the Get Golf Ready initiative with a $1,000 stipend.

Facilities will have to agree to follow the program's established guidelines and curriculum, and to meet minimums of three group lessons and at least five "post-graduate" learn-and-play outings or leagues to increase the chances of retaining those beginning players with playing opportunities.

"We feel this program and curriculum will be successful in bringing more people to the game based on the extensive work and research that has been previously accomplished through industry initiatives such as Play Golf America and Link Up 2 Golf," said PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka. "Now, we're able to take an important step forward by having the entire industry collaborate on the development, roll-out and support of this new initiative."


For once the "golf guru's" are making sense. Your publication is the best in my opionion because it's contents in many cases deals with current problems and suggested solutions. The overall country club mentality is now taking its toll. Memberships are declinig because leadership has never understood that they are in the "dues" business.Budgets for maintaining membership levels and replacing lost members should always have the Number One priority but rarily have been. This program should help as general managers, membership directors/committees at country clubs have their head in the sand. They need help. Thanks for the article.

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