Next Century WILL Bring Next Golf Boom Because so-called baby boomers will remain in their prime earning and family-rearing years through the end of the decade, their influence on U.S. golf participation levels won't be felt until after the year 2000.
So says the National Golf Foundation (NGF), which recently published Trends in the Golf Industry 1986-1995. NGF, based in Jupiter, FL, says real gains in participation over the next few years will have to come from improving golf's retention rate among beginner and occasional golfers, and attracting and retaining women golfers.
Still, 1995 numbers (the latest available) show a small increase (three percent) in the total number of golfers, now at 25 million. Rounds played increased 5.5 percent to 490 million.
Another trend that should continue to attract new players is golf's shift to a predominantly public game: During the past ten years, public golf courses have dominated new construction activity and now account for 70 percent of the nation's total golf course supply, NGF reports.
MEETING INDUSTRY GOLF CLUB ]SEEKS WOMEN GOLFERS The Meeting Industry Ladies Organization (MILO) has become a membership organization, and not a moment too soon. The renamed CLUB MILO signed up 150 members in only three months.
In addition to a slew of new benefits (a newsletter called MILO Matters, a subscription to Golf for Women magazine, a membership directory, and more), CLUB MILO will continue to plan various networking golf events throughout the year.
The first MILO golfwas held in Atlanta in 1986, with 55 players from 50 sponsoring organizations. In 1996, MILO sold out in eight weeks, with a full field of 288 women from 200 sponsoring organizations. This year's sold-out event happens later this month at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island.
New this fall is the Meeting Industry Ladies Invitational (MILI), similar to the Open but focused on the corporate market. The inaugural MILI is set for the first week of November and a resort to be named later. Registration information will be available this summer, says Executive Director JoAnne Hoffman.
Two Women's Tourneys Planned for this ]Fall The first Hospitality Industry Golf Organization (HIGO) women's golf tournament will be held October 12 to 15 at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, FL. Meeting manager PlanNet will facilitate the the event. For information, call HIGO at (800) 510-3214 or e-mail PlanNet@compuserve.com .
And the second annual Hy-Tee, a golf weekend for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts' top female executives and their top female clients, is scheduled for September 25 to 28. The event, which last year attracted 30 female meeting executives in addition to the Hyatt executives, will be held at the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort in Dorado, Puerto Rico.
SEMINARS USE GOLF TO TEACH MANAGEMENT, TEAM SKILLS The Keystone (CO) Conference Center has created several educational group seminars that use golf as a tool for, problem-solving, or group management skills. With group sizes of between eight and 150 participants and program lengths between two hours and two days, there is room for customization to companies' needs.
Two of the programs in place: Business Golf-This course develops golf skills and confidence, leading to enhanced business relationships. Participants complete psychological profiles and receive individual analysis of their relationship-building style. This analysis is used to develop strategies for increased interpersonal effectiveness with customers and colleagues both on and off the golf course.
Mental Edge Golf Seminar-This signature seminar from Strategic Solutions, a Phoenix-based educational and coaching company, centers around personal instruction appropriate to all golfing abilities. Sessions focus on developing specific strategies to strengthen the mental game by building awareness of individual sources of poor performance.
Keystone Conference Center, which has more than 32,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, is located 90 miles west of Denver International Airport.
The Next Hot Teaching Tool: Computer-Aided Instruction A video learning system developed by CompuSport International is hitting the golf schools. Recently installed at the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf in Orlando and at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, MI, the CompuSport system overlays a model swing (developed from the swings of more than 70 tour professionals) over a video recording of the student's own golf swing. Individualized to the student's body size and type, the system allows the teacher and student to identify major swing problems by simply comparing the model swing to that of the student.
Meanwhile at The Resort at Longboat Key (FL) Club's new Golf School, a "computer coach" system allows the instructor to digitize the recorded swing of a student and then use a split screen to compare it to the digitized swings of golf greats including Nick Price, Nick Faldo, Patti Sheehan, and Davis Love.
Surf and Turf Trips? Cruise lines cross-market to the golfing set The Clipper Cruise Line and Royal Carib-bean International each are targeting the golfing population as folks they'd like on their ships. The Nantucket Clipper takes golfers to play at some of the best courses along Florida's Gold Coast, sailing along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami. PGA golf pros accompany the cruise, offering demonstrations and one-on-one pointers. The on-board staff arranges tee times, pairings, and transfers so that passengers arrive at each course and find their bags on carts, ready to roll.
Call The Clipper Cruise Line at (800) 325-0010.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line with two ships featuring floating 18-hole miniature golf courses. The courses on Legend of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas stretch across 6,000 square feet on the outdoor deck, bordered by rough to duplicate a shore-side golf experience. There are trees, sand traps, water hazards, bridges, a clubhouse, and a retractable glass dome in case of inclement weather.
FYI Hilton Hotels Corporation and American Golf Corporation (AGC) have formed an exclusive national marketing alliance, allowing the companies to jointly market services to each other's customers, share databases for cross-promotional marketing, and work together on future sales operations over the Internet. AGC may also give Hilton Reservations Worldwide, Hilton's central reservations service, access to its proprietary online tee-time reservation service.
Whether it's the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, the Ryder Cup, or the PGA Championship, World Golf Hospitality (WGH) can help companies customize a program of corporate hospitality for clients or top performers.
The Atlanta-based company also works with companies to customize golf tours (pilgrimages, one might say) to golf's birthplace-Scotland. Call WGH at (404) 399-0505 for more information.
Executive Golf Services (EGS) promises that with one phone call, corporate executives can reserve tee times at hundreds of golf courses across the country, including some of the most prestigious tournament courses. The service is designed to allow executives traveling outside their home cities to set up golf for their clients. EGS also offers on-site golf event administration and management, catering, speakers, awards, and other services. Call (800) 551-1955.
The American Association of Golf Tour Operators (AAGTO), based in New York City, is composed of companies that provide golf travel packages. Its goals include developing a code of ethics for marketing and servicing golf travel, developing a database on golf travel statistics, and educating consumers about golf travel experts. For information write to AAGTO, P.O. Box 324, 244 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
The Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau has created the Orlando Golf Planner specifically for meeting managers. The four-page guide to the area's golf courses, facilities, academies, and retail outlets is free. Call the bureau at (407) 363-5843.
Lower Your Boardroom Handicap If you don't have as much time at the driving range as you'd like, fear not. Spend a few minutes with Joey West, author of Birdies in the Boardroom: Golfing Your Way up the Corporate Ladder (JSA Publications, 1995), and your intimate knowledge of the game of golf will make up for your slices and yips.
West's book is a funny, philosophical, and practical look at the relationship between golf and business-a relationship he traces back to the 14th century. To help the modern executive, West has packed the book with tips for looking, talking, and acting the part on the course.
Focusing more on the time spent not swinging a club as on actually getting that little ball in the little cup, West posits that not only does golf give you insight into your business partners and colleagues but into yourself. And that's insight you need to score those birdies where? In the boardroom.
See how you do on the following quiz. Match each of these golf course behaviors with what they say about the way you conduct yourself in life and in work.
On the Course In Life and Work
1 Dresses appropriately.
2. Keeps a clean score card.
3. Practices and plays well.
4. Doesn't cheat or fudge rules.
5. Likes to wager.
6. Selects clubs confidently.
7. Reads greens well.
8. Replaces divots, rakes traps.
9. Keeps temper on bad shots.
10. Helps look for lost balls.
A. Accepts risks willingly.
B. Values honesty and respects authority.
C. Is a good team player.
D. Handles pressure well.
E. Cares about professional image.
F. Is eager to learn and excel.
G. Is decisive and determined.
H. Pays attention to detail.
I. Is conscientious and organized.
J. Is neat and math-minded.
"In this day and age, possessing golf skills is as important as possessing computer skills," says West, a former caddie and current golf speaker and humorist. Contact him at (810) 932-0090.