Golf Industry Unites Around Game’s Momentum and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaboration during 2021 National Golf Day
Today, more than 300 leaders and representatives from a diverse cross-section of the golf industry participated virtually in National Golf Day, which was focused on strengthening the ongoing collaboration needed to advance the game’s appeal and increase its accessibility amongst those traditionally underrepresented in golf, while also building on the overall increased interest in the sport.
PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Seth Waugh, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan were keynote speakers during the virtual National Golf Day General Session. The leaders organized the industry last summer around addressing two critical opportunities: how to build on the momentum that golf has experienced since the pandemic began and how to bring greater diversity to the game. Waugh, Monahan and Whan commented on the work accomplished so far through the broad-based industry collaboration and further pledged their organizations’ collective support of the ongoing efforts.
“We have an opportunity as an industry to make a significant impact on the future of our game by being intentional about our efforts to broaden golf’s reach to underrepresented communities,” said Whan. “In 30 years, we want to look back and be proud of the work we’ve done as an industry alliance because the world deserves it. If you feel like you can make a difference, we want you to be involved.”
As part of the same session, a panel including Sandy Cross of the PGA of America, Laura Diaz of the LPGA Foundation and Neera Shetty of the PGA TOUR provided insights into the various working groups that have assembled over the last several months to further delve into industry Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts in the areas of education and skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources, youth and adult player development, and marketing/communications. These work groups have brought together ideas and voices from all backgrounds and continue to grow in size and inclusivity.
“It’s human nature to spend our leisure time in places that we feel comfortable,” said Cross. “It’s human nature to want to spend time around people that look like us or come from backgrounds similar to our own. More people will want to spend time playing golf if they see others that look like themselves enjoying the game or having a successful career in the sport.”
One tangible outgrowth of the marketing/communications work group was unveiled during National Golf Day, through ‘Make Golf Your Thing,’ a multi-faceted, multi-year initiative aimed towards inviting more people into the sport from all backgrounds, and especially those traditionally underrepresented. ‘Make Golf Your Thing,’ which will begin rolling out next week, was introduced by PGA TOUR Chief Marketing Officer Matt Corey alongside Jim Beatty of Jim Beatty Golf Ventures and Charles Dillahunt from the PGA of America, providing context to the movement and inviting the full industry to leverage the creative assets and spirit of ‘Make Golf Your Thing.’
“We want to invite everyone to try golf in their own way,” said Corey. "Whether that means going to a driving range, a Topgolf, putt-putt, playing in their backyard or playing on a local public course, golf can be whatever you want it to be. We're partnering with facilities all over the country to invite people out to try golf and enjoy everything our sport has to offer.”
The participating industry partners will leverage their combined owned media assets to spread the message and invite people to ‘make golf their thing,’ including but not limited to PSAs in golf tournament telecasts, websites and social media accounts, digital media, paid social media, email, and in-venue screens of Topgolf locations and participating golf course facilities nationwide.
The plans to partner with one or more multicultural marketing agencies on this work and the agency evaluation process is currently underway.
In addition, the youth and adult player development group has launched the first phase of the Grassroots Grants Program to support charitable organizations or programs dedicated to increasing golf participation among those who are underrepresented in the sport. More information can be found here.
Coordinated by a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners under the banner of WE ARE GOLF, National Golf Day, typically held in Washington, D.C., brings together more than 300 industry leaders from across the U.S. to support the game’s $84.1 billion economy, nearly $4 billion annual charitable impact, close to 15,000 diverse businesses and two million jobs impacted.