Golf’s participation pressure leads to unique business partnership
Centuries of formality, tradition and etiquette are the attributes that many young people normally see as reasons to bypass the game of golf. The perception that golf is also mostly for the elders on the higher rungs of the corporate ladder might be precisely why the young and ambitious should consider practising their swing.
Trends worldwide show that golf is a game which is under enormous pressure to gain and retain participants, especially of a younger demographic. New Zealand Golf continues to meet the pressure head on through its ongoing efforts to keep the game accessible to all.
New Zealand Golf, with the support of the University of Auckland, has set out to create a unique programme that has seen such interest that spaces were taken within days.
The Business Course pairs leading business professionals with ambitious young students for a round of golf, teaching them a bit about ‘the game’ while playing the game over the space of six weeks.
Big names such as former prime minister Sir John Key, celebrity chef and restauranteur Josh Emmett, Air New Zealand Chief Financial Officer Rob McDonald, Susan Paterson (ONZM), Spark Chief Executive of Home, Mobile and Business Jason Paris and Rhodes scholar and Reserve Bank director Jonathan Ross, will join students on the course. The students will graduate from the programme at an event held alongside New Zealand’s first LPGA event, the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open on October 1st.
The Business Course follows New Zealand Golf’s Love Golf initiative, which was launched in 2014, designed to tackle the perception of the sport in New Zealand and drive an increase in participation.
With 8 out of 10 golfers playing the sport on a casual basis, golf in New Zealand has evolved to facilitate Kiwis’ flexible commitment to the sport as interest grows within a younger demographic of players.
The University of Auckland Business School is thrilled to partner with New Zealand Golf to give promising business students the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the biggest names in New Zealand business, picking up skills that will be valuable for life.
“Co-curricular activities such as The Business Course offer another level to a student’s career development and the initiative is one we are very excited about at the University of Auckland,” says University of Auckland senior lecturer of marketing Dr Mike Lee.
“Nearly all industry stakeholders we have spoken to state the importance of graduates that are not only book smart but also people smart. While we provide as many opportunities as possible to ensure all students get a chance to develop these soft-skills, this initiative is a truly exceptional opportunity for our students.”
“We all believe in diversity and inclusiveness. There is probably a perception that golf is a sport for middle aged white males, and that only white males do well in business. That is why it was really important for us to select a diverse group of students and, with the help of New Zealand Golf, pair them with a diverse set of mentors. Both parties want to break the stereotype that golf (and Business) is only of interest to old white men,” Lee adds.
New Zealand Golf believes that the programme will be a valuable tool in demonstrating the value of the game of golf to young people.
“Golf is a game that enriches young lives and has always been a useful sport to play in the business world. We believe the opportunity to partner with the University of Auckland Business School for this programme is invaluable,” says New Zealand Golf Chief Executive Dean Murphy.
“The Business Course will be of huge benefit to both the mentors and the students as they spend time together on the course and get to know one another away from the distractions of a busy world.”
Being able to play golf has always been an advantage in the business world but The Business Course is more than a golf game, it’s an investment in promising futures.