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PGA STATE OF THE INDUSTRY ROUND TABLE
January 26, 2012
ALLEN WRONOWSKI:¬† Thank you for taking the time and being with us here to have a nice little discussion.¬† Let me introduce my fellow officers and our CEO.¬† In the back of the room, the vice president of The PGA of America, Ted Bishop.¬† The honorary president of The PGA of America, Jim Remy.¬† Derek Sprague could not be with us, he's doing a Connect With Her Clinic right now.¬† And to my left, Joe Steranka, our Honorary PGA Member and the CEO of The PGA of America who will speak to you shortly.
The Merchandise Show, if you have not already seen it and figured it out, is amazingly upbeat, optimistic.¬† We are getting discussions about the parking situation, which is a great challenge to have.
So we expect over 40,000 people here during the entire event.¬† There are over a thousand vendors with us, over 300 new companies on the showroom floor.¬† We have ten aisles of aisle space, and approximately a million square feet of exhibition space, so it is packed.
If you were at Demo Day at all yesterday, it was amazingly busy.¬† Attendance was up, I think I heard, just about ten percent.¬† So a lot of excitement and buzz.¬† Certainly it feels like there is recovery in the industry.
The PGA of America four years ago tied their Annual Meeting into the Merchandise Show and gave the rank‑and‑file member and some other folks that would like to try to attend a way to combine that.
We were at the Hilton this year, right across the street and we conducted the 95th Annual Meeting of The PGA of America.¬† We had well over 600 in attendance, of PGA members, and those from around the country with our delegation.
It was a very, very strong meeting.¬† The message point and the theme was about Golf 2.0 and about friends, about family and about having fun.
The meeting was extremely upbeat, optimistic.¬† We rolled out our playbook and our play card for the Golf 2.0 initiatives and the plan.¬† It was also really rewarding, not only were people extremely happy and proud to see what we were doing, but it was amazing how fast they were thinking about implementation.
You saw section executive directors picking the brains of other section executive directors and comparing and talking about what they were going to do; professionals looking to see how they could be better at their facilities and we did the Herb Graffic Award for the Growth of the Game initiative from the Colorado section and Tim Lollar.¬† You saw a lot of people going over to them to talk about an initiative they have done with the school programs and how they could probably do that in their own areas.
So it was a great exchange of ideas.¬† I've never seen such buzz and excitement and discussions of the breakout areas, and through the dinners and the evenings.¬† We come off of that and come to the show and again the excitement has been phenomenal.
Golf 2.0, I know you've read about it and seen about it and talked about it.¬† It is an outstanding initiative for the golf industry; not just The PGA of America, but it's for the entire industry, and we need the support of the industry to make it successful.
It comes in three pillars and that would be strengthening the core, those that play the game.¬† Trying to engage the lapse players, we talked about the 60 million people who had been exposed to the game and showed some interest in trying to come back to the game.¬† And of course creating and building new players.
A lot of the components of those pillars and the 12 initiatives, we know that education of our membership is extremely important.¬† You are going to see a lot of education programs that we'll devote to it.
We revamped our apprentice education three years ago, and we will continue to make sure that our members are the best trained, the best educated and the best prepared to meet an ever‑changing world and make sure that they are very aware of all of the programs that will be launched under Golf 2.0.
The beauty of this modern day and age is that the education will be online, so that as this continues to evolve and develop, we will be able to change the program rapidly and quickly and make it very successful that way.
As we are talking about 2.0 if we could, this would probably be a great place to show a video we would love for you to see.
ALLEN WRONOWSKI:¬† I would think you had the same reaction as we did in the first part when you heard the consumer comments, and it was a wake‑up call and a call to action.
The beginning of Golf 2.0 last year, we rolled out a few programs.¬† And I can relate that we had some success with Tee It Forward and it was amazing how fast that introductory stage from July 5 to July 17 that we were successful and almost a quarter of a million people trying it right out of the box.
Our thanks to Barney Adams, who got us headed in that direction and we can't thank the USGA enough for being a partner in that initiative.¬† As you have seen the USGA and point in time are recommending it for the entire year this year.
Although, I thought about maybe teeing it real forward, but one of the things that I've noticed at my own club, I had people‑‑ I said yesterday on the morning drive over when we were coming in, to name names Eddie Bromwell (ph), Al Wheeling (ph), just had the best time.¬† The women, we actually two years ago built a separate set of tees.¬† When I first came to the club, we had three sets and now we have seven sets of tees using two combination courses.
So when you see the number of people that thought the game was faster, that they had a much better time and it was enjoyable; we certainly are excited about the success of Tee It Forward.
As I said, Derek Sprague is now doing a seminar right now of connect with her and we had a great presentation last year at our leadership conference with Donna Orender, who I think you're pretty familiar with, but also Suzy Whaley on our national board of directors and they did a program called Speaking Female, and again, serves as great template.
At March at my facility I'm doing a clinic called Speaking Female, Speaking Golf.¬† My wife and I are going to invite all of our members who don't play, the females, and their friends and anybody from outside the club to come and we are going to try to make the game less intimidating.
So a lot of the initiatives Golf 2.0 lead eastbound ship and so that they will have a very good way of figuring out where they will need to concentrate their efforts and how to work those efforts and the accountability of those efforts.¬† So we are excited about that.
As I said at the beginning, certainly anything that you are trying to draw to this magnitude, you need the support of the industry stakeholders and partners and relationships.¬† You also need very special individuals and great supporters and proponents.
I am very proud that one of the first people to do that was Jack Nicklaus.¬† Just as a reminder, they gave me these in front of me:¬† 18 career majors, a record five PGA Championships which tied with Walter Hagen; five‑time PGA Player of the Year.¬†¬† He played on six U.S. Ryder Cup teams.¬† He's been captain of The Ryder Cup Team twice.¬† He's a member of the world golf and PGA golf professional Hall of Fame.¬† He's the owner of the Nicklaus Companies and he's a golf course designer, architect, businessman, philanthropist and he is currently leading the revitalization of our own Valhalla Golf Club.¬† A great spokesman, an iconic figure and just a good friend of The PGA America and the game of golf, Jack Nicklaus.
JACK NICKLAUS:¬† Thank you, Allen.¬† You may wonder why I'm here and doing this and why when I sit down with Allen and Joe, and actually Mike, too, I love this game.¬† I've always loved the game.¬† I don't play it as much anymore.¬† But I love it.¬† I want to see it continue.¬† I want to see it grow.
I've seen what's happened over the last few years.¬† Pretty accurate on these stats I think.¬† We've lost 23 percent of the women in the game since 2006 and we have lost 36 percent of the kids in the game since 2006.¬† That's not a good stat.
Now, it's not something that we are proud of.¬† When we finally kept looking at this thing and saying, we need to do something, The PGA of America with their 2.0 program, it's the most comprehensive and complete and well‑thought‑out program and I think it's something to get behind.
That's what I'm here to try to help do.¬† You know, this relates to my own family.¬† I had three of my kids that became golf professionals.¬† They stopped playing to golf, all three of them have got their amateur status back.¬† Steve is not a pro but he's a pretty good player and he doesn't play much anymore.¬† I play about once a month.¬† My wife doesn't really play.¬† The grand kids‑‑ I've got 22 grand kids, and I've got‑‑ they all play a little bit, but I mean, a little bit‑‑¬† it's really a little bit, they play less than I do, and that's not very much.
Other sports are grabbing attention and time from our kids.¬† The parents are being dragged to the parks and the park systems and they are playing soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, basketball, you name it.¬† And they don't have the time to play golf and the kids are not being introduced to it and that's exactly what you were just saying.
We are not being introduced to it.¬† We need to introduce our kids to the game of golf.¬† We need to introduce it to them in a way that is friendly and a way that they can have some early success and stay with the game.
The same with women.¬† And we can't do it on a five‑ or six‑hour basis.¬† You've got to do it on the basis of time that they have a lot of.¬† And if‑‑ I used to be able to get away with it because it was my living but I could see my kids today, they go out and they tell their wife, they say, honey, it's 8:00 in the morning, I'm going out to play a round of golf, see you this afternoon and they show up at four o'clock.¬† That happens once or twice, and uh‑uh, we are not doing that.
But if they said, hey, I'm going to go play golf tomorrow and I'll meet you at noon for lunch with the kids and we'll go spend the afternoon, they will be able to do that.
So they need to be able to figure out ways to take less time, make it easier, and also, the costs of the game.¬† Part of getting involved in the recreational programs and getting involved in the parks is all part of making the golf game easier, more fun and less expensive.
So, sure, does this mean we are going to change the game of golf?¬† No.¬† We are just going to figure out, the game of golf is a game.¬† I'm a traditionalist.¬† You all know me, I'm pretty stodgy about that kind of stuff.
But when I'm used as a spokesman or I start turning back, and I say, well, maybe we ought to be thinking about making a certain time limit on how long you can play.¬† People say, Jack wants to do that, and he's doing it at Muirfield Village?¬† Well, we had a great time.
Last week, not this week, but the week before, we had a husband‑wife with father/daughter or whatever it turned out to be at the Bear's Club.¬† We had 20, 25 groups play and we played best‑ball.¬† We played 12 holes, eight‑inch hole.¬† Barbara and I played; first time Barbara has touched a club in six or seven years.¬† And we beat one couple.¬† That was with our handicap.¬† I think we beat two without a handicap.¬† We didn't beat many but we had fun.¬† We had a good time.
We walked in, and I didn't know what the reaction was going to be.¬† And even the guys, they all said, you know, hey, we ought to do this at least once a month.¬† This would be a great event for us to have here, bring the people together and have fun, no pressure on them.¬† It was fun.¬† I enjoyed it and had a good time with it.¬† I think it's something that we need to do.
I go back to Muirfield Village and our Captain's Club at Muirfield Village.¬† That's our group, something I call golfing statesmen, that sort of give us guidance at Muirfield.¬† And it has a group that includes several USGA presidents; several PGA of America presidents; several former captains of the R&A; Charlie Mechem, former LPGA Commissioner; several players, Watson is on it, Player, Palmer, Andy North, Judy Rankin; pretty good cross‑section, and Johann Rupert from South Africa.
Well, they came back, and one of the big topics we had was:¬† What do we do about the game of golf.¬† And they put together a position letter, which was sent out to the USGA and sent out to The PGA and so forth, and this was a couple years ago.¬† That didn't get very far.¬† It was sort of, what are these old fellows doing; what do they think they are talking about.
Well, now, Mike is new at the USGA, and Joe has taken it to heart.¬† Joe spoke at our captain's club last year.¬† And we all said, hey, this is thinking out of the box stuff that we need to do.¬† We need all your help and that's why we're here.¬† We need your help for the game of golf; not only do we need the people that are in the business of the game, but we need the people that are writing about the game, talking about the game, to try to figure out how do we grow this silly game.¬† How do we make it better for everybody.
Tournament golf, we don't want to change.¬† We don't want to change it.¬† Tournament golf is terrific.¬† I love watching these guys pop it out there and make a lot of putts and do all that kind of stuff.¬† But somebody else, it used to be 30 years ago, I could play with the club champion at a golf course and he had a good chance of beating me.¬† Playing basically the same game.¬† Playing a golf ball that didn't go very far.¬† We were playing tees that maybe were ten or 15 yards apart and I might out‑drive him by 20 yards.¬† But it wasn't a big deal, and he knew the course and he might beat me.
Today, can you imagine a club champion going out and playing a 7,500‑yard golf course and playing Tiger or Phil and beating them?¬† Not a chance in this world.¬† The game has changed.¬† The game has gone beyond being able to relate back to the people relating to our pros and that's a same.¬† We've lost that and we need to bring that back.¬† I'm not saying‑‑ everybody thinks the game they played was the best game.¬† The game I played was a good game but the game they play today is still a good game, too.
It's different.¬† And relating to the golfer is tougher.¬† We want these guys to be our heros and these gals to be our heros.¬† We want them to be‑‑ we want to relate to them.
So anyway, so the idea of making golf more fun and making it faster and making it easier and making it less expensive, all of the things that we are working on.¬† I know Joe and I, we talked about golf park, just taking golf and just take it out into a park and basically where we just put a flag and a hole in the park and cut a little bit of grass on a normal park and play golf there.¬† That's where it started; that's the way it started.
Through synthetic turf at these‑‑ I started talking about losing to the other sports, losing time with the kids.¬† The fathers are going to take their kids out.¬† Well, we are working now, I'm working with one county in particular that wants to be the poster child in South Florida of being able to take golf and do artificial greens.
And when we go to the park systems and they are playing, they have got a thousand kids that are playing sports, a certain percentage of them are playing golf and they are being taught by The PGA pros that give them time, fathers that were pretty decent golfers, that give them the time to teach.¬† Just like the fathers are teaching them to play football, basketball and lacrosse.¬† The same thing has got to happen in golf, and if that happens we'll bring a lot of people into the game of golf.¬† I don't think there's any question about it.
Now we have a lot of academies all over the world that are teaching kids.¬† That's fine, bring people into the game through teaching them how to play.
The Olympic effort.¬† The Olympic effort is a huge effort.¬† You all know that golf is in 2016 and 2020 and voted on in 2017 whether it's going to stay or not.¬† It's a pretty big deal that 2016 be right.
And if 2016 ends right and it is voted back in, think of the effect that's going to have on, not so much the United States, because we are a pretty mature golf market.¬† But take Brazil that doesn't even have a public golf facility; take China, which is just barely starting into the game; take India, which is barely starting into the game; take Russia, which is barely starting into the game.
All of these places that have really supported Olympic sports.¬† The gold medal has always been the prize.¬† It's not the Masters and US PGA or the British Open.¬† It's been the gold medal.
Well, if golf is successful in staging the Olympics, all of these countries will grow their game and will bring people into the game.¬† Frankly we are going to have figure out a way to keep pace.
I was at a press conference in China not very good ago and they asked me:¬† Jack, what do you think, will we ever have a Chinese player in the Top‑10?
I said:¬† Well, with the number of people you've got in this country, 300 million people, and the way they go after sports, I wouldn't be surprised in ten years to see five of the Top‑10 players in the world come from China.¬† It wouldn't surprise me in the least.¬† Could be an exaggeration, but maybe not.¬† We don't know.
The Olympic effect is going to be amazing.¬† We all know that our game is not perfect, but no game is.¬† And everything has issues.¬† But here to not talk too much about what's wrong with the game, but how can we increase the game, how can we touch the game, and how can we as a group make the game better.
It's not a PGA initiative, it's all our initiative.¬† It's everybody.
JOE STERANKA:¬† Thank you, everyone.¬† A year ago we were just beginning our work with Boston Consulting Group, one of the top business strategists in the world and we asked them to really take an unvarnished look at our sport as a consumer product that relied on discretionary time and money for people to spend in it.
The great news is, this study that you saw some of the qualitative focus groups and quantitative analysis, as well, and it validated that, hey, our product is pretty good.¬† These are folks that advise a lot of big consumer products and they said:¬† This sport is fun, the game is social, and it really is a catalyst for bringing friends together and it can be very family friendly.¬† It does produce the moments, you know, that we have heard, walking the fairways and talking about everything and not just golf necessarily.
When you see represented up here is the work of the last year of The PGA of America, and it was really my job then to present the findings of the Boston Consulting Group to The PGA's board of directors, which I did in February, but what Allen as chairman of the board summed up at the end of the meeting is, you have the resources of The PGA behind you, but this cannot be just a PGA initiative.
We learned when we did Play Golf America ten years ago now, that while it came out of the blocks as a great player development initiative to engage occasional players, the rest of the industry for various reasons just said, oh, we think The PGA has the growth of the game ball and we'll let them run with it.
We are saying in this reset of the economy and our lives, when time is just as much a precious commodity as household wages, no segment of the industry is immune from the change and no segment of the industry can stay on the sidelines or outside the ropes and not get involved in Golf 2.0.
So there's a reason it's Golf 2.0, not PGA 2.0.¬† This is very much an alliance of the industry, and you'll see that reflected today.
No consumer product, brand, institution can take its core members or customers for granted.¬† So we have to strengthen that relationship.¬† The Tee It Forward initiative that Barney Adams has helped us with and he'll continue to help us with, is an example.
We are taking PGA education on customer service to a whole new level and asking our employers now to support the training of the entire facilities staff from the person who answers the phone, who answers e‑mails on the website and greets customers when they arrive to the facility for the very first time.¬† We have to do an even better job just to keep people in the game.
In terms of engaging the lapse, Get Golf Ready, which is now in its third year, or finished its third year in 2011, is the best, the best, the best practices when it comes to bringing people in a fun, affordable‑‑ it's as little at 99 dollars, a pretty consumer friendly, five easy lessons way; and we have thousands of golf courses.¬† We don't have the scale yet that we think is important to achieve but the basis is there with Get Golf Ready.
I really appreciate the support of the executive women's Golf Association.¬† They are doing Get Golf Ready for women now and taking and aligning a lot of their chapters and new development programs with the rest of the industry so that we do get some synergy.¬† And the work that Donna Orender is doing to get other women's organizations and bringing that same passion that she had for introducing girls to sport through basketball now back to golf.
We are also doing something to address, I talked about The PGA has to lead with its members to introduce folks to the game and teach them how to hit certain shots, but you need the support of the employers.¬† We also need different physical plans that we have had before.¬† We need bunny slopes.
I talked about the analog of us not having what skiing or bowling has with the bumper guards.¬† So we have these new players or families that show up at nine o'clock on Saturday morning at traditional golf facilities.¬† We don't have a place to put them.
So we are announcing today an alliance with The PGA of America and the American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation, we are going to take a page out of golf history.¬† 75 years ago or so The PGA of America hired A.W. Tillinghast to be a free consultant to America's golf courses to guide them on how to make their courses more friendly after the Great Depression.
They had to introduce new players.¬† They had to make the courses more friendly for women.¬† Tillinghast wrote to them, the then PGA president, that he had deconsecrated 7,000 bunkers in his tour across America.¬†
Our grant to their foundation is going to provide the travel expenses for architects who are going to volunteer to give free reviews of American golf courses and how to use the existing land plan.¬† Maybe it's rerouting a hole to expand a range and add in three to six short holes that can be bunny slopes and bring that family out even more to the course.
We are also adapting how we support growth of the game.¬† We have a great headquarters staff.¬† We have added Darrell Crall, who is the new senior director of Golf 2.0.¬† So it's not that we became a lot more efficient during this recession like everybody else did, so we didn't have a lot of extra hours laying around.
So our board committed $5.1 million for new staff.¬† Darrell started with that.¬† He's also building up a team of nine regional player development managers that go into nine much the Top‑10 markets of latent demand as identified by the National Golf Foundation.
The reason that is important is that even our PGA sections, you can't find another 40 or 80 hours a week to go into business development.¬† We have to start adding some incremental staff, and that approach and the support of manufacturers and other allied associations in those nine markets; you'll see a list of them in the media kit, is so very important.
Now, one out of nine or ten golfers belongs to a private club.¬† And so therefore, and the average round of golf costs $28.¬† So we might think that our game is accessible and affordable.¬† And it is.¬† But the perception is, it is not, that it is a course is behind gates.¬† Many of the images are of private club golf.
So we have to shake that perception and align it with reality.¬† We are having some folks who are going to help us do that.¬† Jack mentioned golf parks.¬† A golf park, the word park in and of itself, is a community asset, open green space.
Our vision is to put golf parks in cities where there are Boys & Girls Club chapters and other municipal sports programs, and have a thousand kid at a time that are signed up for junior league golf.
Helping us with that is a company called LEJ Sports, and you'll see some information on LEJ in your media kits.¬† We have watched them pilot a program of junior league golf.¬† This is team golf for kids.¬† It's a scramble format that doesn't put the pressure on any one person on the team.¬† You can align your A, B and C players like we do with our golf.¬† These are shorter courses and they have some eight‑inch cups.¬† It's fun.¬† And the kids are going to wear jerseys with the uniforms on them.
So we are borrowing a lot of what we see young people in America being attracted to, all of which are building blocks for the future of golf.
You are going to hear about one of those‑‑ the biggest of those building blocks in a second.
But with that, I'll close and just introduce a good friend that we have invited to be part of our State of the Association, because the USGA is playing a role.¬† This is not just words, and it's hard dollars and the aligning of a lot of their very sources.¬† They have a lot of USGA members that would play more golf if their friends and family played golf.¬† That will be one of the things that we explore as well.
My pleasure to introduce the Executive Director of the USGA, Mike Davis.
MIKE DAVIS:¬† It is an honor to be up here.¬† The message, if we had to sum it up in one thing, the USGA is fully supportive of Golf 2.0 and its initiatives.
I think that one of the reasons that it's so delightful to be up here is that historically, and we go back almost 118 years, we have been a bit about preserving, protecting, governing the game.¬† We believe there's some challenges in this game that we all know that the game and the economy goes in cycles.¬† However, it is really heartening to hear some of the things, Joe, that you have been talking about in terms of growing the game that we all love.
We have looked at these and had a lot of discussions with The PGA of America and said, you know what, even though we will still remain very focused to our core in preserving and protecting and governing the game, we need to step to the plate, too, and be a part of this.
So things like Tee It Forward, this pilot initiative that happened, joint initiative with The PGA of America, that happened last summer, a very simple initiative.¬† It's a common sense initiative.
JOE STERANKA:¬† The folks who do some of the most important work in America, the Boys & Girls Club ‑‑ and Jack, I know you have something that you're going to have to leave for shortly.¬† I'll open it up for a couple of questions for Jack.¬† I don't want you to miss that opportunity.
JACK NICKLAUS:¬† My kids, I want them to play the game because they wanted to play the game, introduce them, all of my grand kids have been introduced to the game.¬† They have all hit golf balls.¬† Some of them play.¬† Nick, who plays football at Florida State, Nick has a beautiful golf swing and will go play golf as well as the other sports.¬† We want to just introduce them.
You know, he's sort of shying away from the game of golf because he wants to play football and he wants to play all of the other sports.
JOE STERANKA:¬† We'll take another question for Jack.
Q.¬† Ryo Ishikawais ‑‑ is there also a component that every day golf participation‑‑ seems to me that a lot of the international program, I know Golf 2.0 is not international, but in terms of getting more people to play globally, do you see any interest in countries where you are working to get every day golfers, you go to Mission Hills and there are 300 caddies and none of the women play.
JACK NICKLAUS:¬† It's a newcomer to China; it's a newcomer to Russia; it's a newcomer to India.¬† These are countries that a lot of people that really have a desire to learn the game, and we have got to help them find out, how do they do it.
If we introduce the same game that we were introduced to, they are going to have the same issues with time, computer age, all of the same things that our kids are having, so we have to figure out a way, once we introduce them, how do you keep them there.¬† That's what we want to try to do.
Q.¬† Just following up on that question with the Olympics, as one of the architects being considered for the property there, with all of the things that you've accomplished in golf, where does this‑‑
JACK NICKLAUS:¬† Frankly they loved it.¬† I said, why don't we do this more often.¬† And, you know, hey, I didn't know what kind of reaction I was going to get.¬† And that is the kind of reaction I got.
So it's fun to be involved and it's fun to be involved with Golf 2.0.¬† Kenny, I'm sorry, I have to slip out.¬† Good to see you, my friend.¬†
EVAN McELROY:¬† And the reason is very simple, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is the largest network of facilities and programs dedicated to young people in the world.¬† And our mission essentially is to give young people opportunities, especially kids who might not have opportunities to succeed if it weren't for the intervention of an organization with mentors and programs that are there when they need them.
We operate in the non‑school hours so we are serving young people when they are not in school and we are really sort of the bridge between school and home, because if you look at the situation in our country with young people between crime that starts at 3 o'clock and involves young people and escalates until 6 o'clock, it's because too many of them are not in a structured environment with people that care about them and giving them opportunities to learn and succeed beyond the school day.¬† That's essentially what we do.
Now, we are always looking for opportunities to expand their horizons, and give them chances to learn new things, explore interests.¬† And so when the sport of golf comes along in the person of The PGA of America and USGA and says, we want to work with you to introduce young people who would otherwise not have that opportunity to get involved with this game, it's a perfect match.
It's also a perfect time, because just as Golf 2.0 is launching, we have launched an initiative called Great Futures 2017.¬† It's our strategic plan and centered around three objectives or outcomes:¬† Academic success, character and leadership development and healthy lifestyles.¬† All three of those things are needed for success with young people that have challenges, and all young people in general, and all three of those things are outcomes that the sport and the game of golf can really help young people achieve in.
So this is a match made in heaven, and we are thrilled and delighted to enter into this partnership.¬† When Joe came to us as a former club kid, he got it.¬† He already understood what Boys & Girls Clubs were all about and he didn't have to do a selling job.¬† He said, I know this can work in terms of fitting into our strategy to grow the game.
So we are thrilled and honored and really excited to get going.¬† And we are going to do that as soon as we leave here as we begin to get the word out to our clubs and begin to test different models that work in different kind of communities.¬† We are in every kind of community you can think of, cities, towns, Native American lands, we are in every U.S. military installation here and abroad.
So we have got ample opportunities to figure out how to make this work in virtually any kind of situation.¬† So we are really excited and we are going to go at it full bore.¬† With that, I want to introduce one of our longest‑serving board members, someone who, again, really gets it and has been a great spokesman and role model for our young people and just a thorough supporter of our mission through and through and continues to be one of our most prominent supporters and spokes people, Ken Griffey, Jr.
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.:¬† The story I was going to tell is I played golf with Jack and Mark O'Meara told me the night before that, hey, we are playing with Jack tomorrow.¬† And I was so nervous about playing with him that I didn't get any sleep that night.
We get to the golf course, we are playing at Pebble Beach and it comes on hole No. 10, we started on, and Jack's resum√© reads, five times, four times, three times.¬† He hits it down the middle, Mark O'Meara hits it down the middle, Steven hits it down the middle and I HIT mine dead left.¬† First words Jack said to me was, "We have got to play our foul balls," which, you know, wasn't real funny to me at the time.¬† (Laughter)
I ended up parring the hole.¬† He bogeyed it so I said something to him.
But watching over the next 17 holes how he interacted with his son was unbelievable.¬† It was just, they talked about everything, except golf.¬† And that was the one thing that I took away‑‑ and I looked at being a young father at the time.¬† That's what I want.¬† When I play golf with my kids, I want to be able to do that.
I play a little bit with my dad here and there and we talk about everything.¬† But I have this thing called Griffey First Family Fun.¬† We play Sunday, we play golf; it's usually five of us.¬† And we go out and my youngest is nine, and we having my dad there, and we'll tear up a golf course, is what my dad would say.
But how many times do we honestly listen to our kids?¬† As kids, you would want your parents to listen to you.¬† Well, here is an opportunity to really do that.¬† And that is, what do they say?¬† It's not fun, it takes too much time.¬† We have the opportunity to change that, and with this Golf 2.0, I think that we are going to reach a lot of kids throughout the world, and make it fun.
You know, as they learn, we can make the golf courses a little tougher.¬† But right now, we just want to start them off and have fun.¬† Go out there‑‑ we didn't do anything that wasn't fun as a kid, so why would we not want them to have fun.
For me being a board member, going into the Boys & Girls Club, day‑in and day‑out, seeing the kids and talking to them, all they want to do, they want to learn.¬† They want to learn about everything.¬† But they also want to have fun.
So I think with this, and I can't thank you guys enough for asking me to be a part of this.¬† I love golf just as much as everybody.¬† Going back to the other thing, my oldest doesn't even play baseball.¬† He stopped playing when he was 12.¬† He told me it was too boring.¬† I didn't understand that, but, I never forced it.¬† He just committed to go to Arizona on a football scholarship and I'm so excited about that.¬† I get a chance to go do something that I've never done.
My brother played at Ohio State, which he was real happy about that; I wasn't.¬† But it's a learning opportunity as a parent to hear what your kids have to say.¬† He just said, "Dad, I just don't want to play baseball."¬†¬†
Now, he swings just like me.¬† My mom took a picture, and I thought it was me.¬† I said, "Mom, when was I playing at university?"
She said, "That's not you, that's Trey."¬† That's how close it is.¬† But he just never had the love for it.¬† I think because I wanted him to play baseball, he was like, I'm not going to play.
But as soon as‑‑ he'll say, dad, let's go play golf, he'll pack up the clubs, make sure everything is in there and make sure everything is ready to go.
Learning the golf etiquette was a little bit of a challenge when he was younger, but, you know, as of right now, he understands everything.¬† He's 18.¬† But he's also teaching my nine‑year‑old.¬† Hey, you can't work on this line, you have to do this.¬† My nine‑year‑old is looking at him going, okay, I got it.¬† It became fun for my nine‑year‑old who hits it about 130, 140.
You know, he loves golf.¬† We thought about, okay, now it's time to give him lessons.¬† I think this summer, we are going to go full board and let him play in between his baseball and basketball schedule and football‑‑ I can't let him not play baseball.¬† I need at least one, just one.¬† (Laughter).
But this is a very exciting time for us, the Boys & Girls Club.¬† I know they have been talking to me for the last two months about, hey, this is‑‑ you have to do this.¬† I'm like, okay, this is great.
I think the biggest message that I've got out of it is, you know, everybody talking is, we really need to sit down and listen to what our kids have to say.¬† We may not always agree with it.¬† But, at least listen to them and see what we can do to make this game a little different, so they will play it.
I want to thank everybody, thank you guys, thank you, but you know, I'm really excited about the direction that this is going.
JOE STERANKA:¬† Ken, thank you very much.¬† We'll open up for questions.
Q.¬† For several years, we have come here and there's been different initiatives launched.¬† There's Play Golf America and Get Golf Ready which have both been referenced.¬† In simplest terms, how is Golf 2.0 different than those initiatives, and what different result are you hoping to have?
JOE STERANKA:¬† Keep in mind, Golf 2.0 is a business plan.¬† It looks at ten years of, first, stopping the erosion of the number of people who are playing the game, and getting some net gains every year; and responding to what we found in the Boston consulting study, that different people are going to take up the game in different places.
So, looking at alliances such as the Boys & Girls Club with Top Golf, which is a high‑tech driving range sports bar concept in a few major markets; the work that we are already doing in junior golf, all of these are designed to lay the seeds for the next ten and 20 years; to make sure that we get Gen‑Y and the Millennials that are going to take up‑‑ customers for that facility.
So we are going to train our members.¬† Now we are extending that training to golf facility owners, operators and non‑professional staff.¬† We are going to realign our playing fields to make‑‑ have some entry‑level courses in golf‑park‑like settings, whether they are at existing courses or whether they are remade through the ASGAC program or portable courses where we can bring a golf course‑‑
And then the final change is marketing.¬† You know, we are going to have new‑‑ recession and the loss of trust in some of the legacy institutions, a Tweet or a Facebook message may be more credible than a 30‑second television commercial.¬† We spend a lot of time talking to experts in social media, and believe it or not, golf is one of the lead topics.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports