The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011 - (Page 2)

GOLF 2.0 The PGA of America hits the restart button on player development By Jim Koppenhaver fter a decade of mixed results led by the World Golf Foundation’s Golf 20/20 initiatives in player development, the PGA of America recently stepped up to the plate to create the next round of strategies and plans which they’re calling Golf 2.0. In an announcement and presentation materials distributed to their members in June, the PGA of America provided a summary outline of research and strategy conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) over the previous year to determine why the golfer base is in a flat spin and descending gradually back to 1995 levels. The initiative was “previewed” at the May Golf 20/20 annual gathering, which suggests that this may be a symbolic “passing of the torch” from the World Golf Foundation to the PGA of America to either refine the Play Golf America platform we’re currently on or to completely overhaul the strategy and execution of player development for the next 8 years leading to the consistent 2020 milestone of progress. In the basic strategies at least, Golf 2.0 is a significant departure from the Golf 20/20 approach, which has had laser-like focus on creating new golfers. Golf 2.0 takes a step back and looks at the broader elements of growing the game, such as golfer retention and increasing the involvement of the existing golfer base. Pellucid has unsuccessfully advocated that tactic for years, based on our research and non-golf industry knowledge of successful grow-the-consumer base initiatives from the Consumer Package Goods industry. Let’s look at the fundamental tenets of Golf 2.0 and assess what, in my opinion, they’ve got right and which red herrings are still present in macro industry strategy efforts: n Three pillars of growth: 1. Retain and strengthen the golfing core 2. Engage the lapsed players 3. Create interest among non-traditional groups n Nine target consumer groups classified within the 3 growth pillars: • Retain pillar = Regular golfers $150K+ income, Occasional Women no kids, Occasional Men no kids • Engage pillar = Lapsed women no kids, Lapsed men no kids, Lapsed retired men, Lapsed moms & dads • Create interest pillar = Kids, Lapsed and familiar Hispanics n Primary barriers differ among the groups but common themes suggested by BCG are time, cost, wife/significant other doesn’t play, difficulty to learn and crowded courses (really?) n They estimate that there are 70M non-golfers (includes lapseds and never-trieds) who are open to the idea of the sport based on survey research A n The goal is to build from today’s 27M golfer base to 40M golfers by 2020 with a smooth ramp-up between 2012-2016 of roughly 1M golfer gain annually and then a dramatic escalation of annual gain to 2.6M/yr for the period 2017-2020. (They forecast this due to “leverage events” – AKA “and then a miracle happens.”) Due to space constraints, I’ll take the first 3 initiatives on the BCG roadmap (curiously all of which are in Pillar 2, Engage the lapsed. I’m guessing that Pillar 1 is either happening automatically or it’s outside the scope of this industry effort), and outline the strengths and weaknesses of BCG’s initial roadmap. n Welcome Back – Standardize the process for bringing returning golfers back into the game, emphasizing a positive experience for returning novices, 2012 execution. On the surface this appears to be Get Golf Ready 2.0, creating a series of template programs with standardized processes and KPIs and giving them an increased focus on attracting lapsed golfers rather than the current frontal assault against the never-trieds. This gets some points in my book in that lapsed golfers at least have a leg up, in that they probably have equipment, they’re not intimidated by the rules and etiquette and they’re approaching the basics for a second time. Where I think this is going to be extremely challenged is in identifying and targeting the lapsed golfers among the general population for marketing and acquisitions. (They don’t have any distinguishing characteristics in our research other than they shudder when you brandish a golf club). n Connecting with Her – Specific women programs that address uniquely female pain points and provide a non-threatening entry path to golf, 2011 execution. I have to applaud (stopping short of admire, though) the industry’s persistence on this front and BCG’s potential pandering to this recurring logic flaw peculiar to our industry. In the presentation, BCG drags out the hackneyed trend research that suggests that women influence, if not decide, the vast majority of spending decisions in the US. While I’ve not done any research of my own on this particular topic, it just doesn’t pass the “sniff test” to me in general and across a number of very specific categories (cars, homes, beer and golf to name a few). While I’ve repeatedly stated that increasing female participation is a significant opportunity for golf (see the upcoming Outside the Ropes newsletter issue for how we fared in growing female participation in 2010; hint, we didn’t), to place this as a Phase I priority for an aggressive grow-the-industry initiative seems unfounded in any real math and history of the industry. Nevertheless, to BCG and the PGA of America I’ll just say, “You go, girl.” July 2011 2 The Pellucid PersPecTive

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011

The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011
The PGA of America hits the restart button on player development
Permanent tee times, Chicago style
Positive P.R. leads to course record revenue month
Exploring the alternative golf universe
Jun 2011 YtD weather impact, May 2011 YtD utilization
Life at the top of the market
Minneapolis, MN Core Business Statistical Area (CBSA)
Comings & goings
Musings from the rough

The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011