Thu Sep 6 2012The industry has been busy aligning
Its been a very busy couple weeks here at Golf Industry Central. I’ve had the privilege to attend, facilitate and present in NZ and Australia at a variety of industry forums.
The GMANZ Conference was recently held in Christchurch with close to 100 attendees from all aspects of the industry. Themed Survival of the Fittest, the conference was staged at Russley Golf Club in Christchurch from August 26-28. “The theme, Survival of the Fittest, could mean any number of things, but effectively it is that,” said conference organiser Rod Latham, who is also the general manager at Harewood Golf Club in Christchurch.
This year, organisers mobilised a diverse array of top-class speakers from the US, Australia and New Zealand.
“We had some good keynote speakers,” Latham said. “From the US we had Norm Spitzig, a Master Club Adviser, and Mike Leemhuis, who is the Chief Executive Officer at the Congressional Country Club.” Both men spoke on different topics each with an emphasis on leadership through tough times. Mike Orloff spoke on Membership: Cradle to the Grave explaining how the needs of membership must change for different age groups. The various national bodies spoke about how they can work closer together on various initiatives which was summarised well from Dean Murphy CEO of NZ Golf. (A full wrap up of this event will be in the next Golf Industry Central online magazine due out in a couple weeks.)
Following on from that I spent time with Golf Course Architect Kristine Kerr (Kura Golf) playing at Pegasus Golf Course and touring the new course she has designed at Waimairi Beach Golf Club. The club endured three earthquakes in less than 12 months, which destroyed the clubhouse and rendered nine holes unplayable due to liquefaction. Construction is well underway now with several holes being grown in. The few holes I saw were looking great and will lift the profile of the club for sure.
I did also get a quick visit the city centre to see the remnants on so many building affected by the earthquakes. It’s been several years since my last visit and it was a real shame to see some great old building getting ready to be taken down. People though still seemed to have a positive outlook after all the challenges they have been facing. Canterbury Golf had organised two different seminars for me to present, which were a great opportunity for me to find out more about the challenges being faced there. Not to dissimilar to the rest of the world, especially when it comes to membership.
Back over here on the Gold Coast this week (and to warmer weather!), representatives from across Australian golf arrived at Palm Meadows the Annual Golf Development Forum organised by Golf Australia. The forum saw representatives from Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia, the ALPG, Golf Management Australia, all State Association and Junior Foundations, School Sport Australia and the Australian Sports Commission join forces to work through a range of development programs including National Participation Plans. I had the honour as the facilitator for the two days which was a great experience to learn firsthand on what is being done nationally and to also see the various bodies truly working toward alignment of goals especially related to participation.
Golf Australia Golf Development Manager Cameron Wade said the forum was an important meeting as the sport looks to maximise its resources. "We've held this forum for the last two years and it's been quite successful each time," Wade said. "By bringing all of the industry's major development stakeholders together in one place, we can identify and work through any issues and challenges around our programs and also use our success stories as blue prints for the future. Much of the week was about the ways that the industry can use its collective strength to grow grassroots golf even more in the future," Wade added. The three day conference featured a number of guest speakers from the golf's major bodies including 8-time LPGA Tour winner Rachel Hetherington.
Im personally very excited to see where both countries are heading in regarding to working closer together. We are a large geographic area, but we are not a large industry. We tend to have a lot of duplication in many areas, and if we can coordinate better well have extra resources to focus on the most important thing- PARTICIPATION!!
Mike Orloff is a golf marketing and operations specialist with management experience in the golf industry in Australia and United States. He offers marketing and operational advice for golfing facilities in the areas of revenue generation, membership attainment and retention, new player development, staff recruitment, event management and retail management.
Marketing to grow golf businesses is Mike’s main focus these days.
As a current US and Australian PGA Member, Mike has more than 22 years of experience working his way up from pro shop assistant to general manager of two to five-star operations for two of the biggest international golf management companies globally. Now Mike is offering his experience, knowledge and tools to golf clubs and other golf-related businesses in Australia and New Zealand.
Articles by Mike Orloff