Increasing player participation tops the bill at inaugural Golf Business & Industry Convention (GolfBIC)
UK golf course owners were united in their calls to encourage more people to participate in the sport at the recent GolfBIC event at Marriott Forest of Arden.
They were joined in their cause by former Ryder Cup captain and golf legend, John Jacobs who told the audience to continue their initiatives to inspire more people to take up the game.
GolfBIC, organised by the UK Golf Course Owners Association (UKGCOA) and the Organisation of Golf & Range Operators (OGRO) in association with the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA), provided the first opportunity for golf course and driving range owners and operators to join together, en masse, to discuss the issues affecting their businesses.
Featuring thought provoking seminars on subjects ranging from Proven Methods of Growing the Game, focusing on customer service with guest speaker Mike Tinkey, Deputy CEO of the National Golf Course Association (NGCOA) in the US, to a discussion on Purchase Clever, cost saving measures with Paul Mould from Material Matters, a partner of the UKGCOA.
In addition to a packed schedule of speakers and discussions, there was an exhibition of more than 40 golf organisations and suppliers plus opportunities to network with industry professionals relevant to course and range operation.
Jerry Kilby CCM, UKGCOA Executive Director, said: "In hosting this event, the UKGCOA has achieved one of its primary objectives as this acts as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences. Importantly though, it brings golf and range proprietors together to give them one, unified voice.
"The format for this event proved very popular as it delivered a high concentration of industry insight in thought provoking seminars, balanced with ample opportunity to network with industry peers in a friendly, communal environment."
Cllr Nicholas Turner, Owner of Drayton Leisure, said: "As the operator of a nine-hole par-3 course and driving range, the benefit of attending GolfBIC is that I can share ideas and information with operators at successful outfits such as Crown Golf, De Vere, Burhill and Marriott, getting a complete industry-wide perspective.
"Everyone shares the same passion for development and growth in the game and there is an opportunity at GolfBIC to network, reach out to new markets and discover new directions for our businesses.
"There's an overwhelming sense of community and support from like minded people."
Dedicated to playing an active and positive role in the growth of the game, GolfBIC delegates showed their philanthropic side at a charity dinner where more than 4,500 was raised in aid of the Golf Foundation.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: "I'm overwhelmed by the support the Golf Foundation has received from GolfBIC. It is vital for the growth of the game that golf owners and operators participate in the national schemes devised to grow the game.
"GolfBIC is the perfect environment to make owners aware of our initiatives and highlight the enormous interest in golf from young people which can bring significant value to their business.
"There has been a threefold increase in school participation of golf resulting in a large crop of talented young golfers looking to take their game to local golf facilities."