THE 31ST GOLF INDUSTRY LUNCH AT THE OPEN

Posted on July 21, 2015

This year The Open turned out to be a dramatic five day tournament at St Andrews, consisting of major rain delay and a three way play off that not many would have predicted. Whilst all of this was going on, SMS INC. were not only busy actively undertaking research at the event, but were also hosting their 31st annual Golf Industry Lunch.

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For a sixth year, SMS INC. partnered up with the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA) to host the Golf Industry Lunch, which supports the Golf Foundation’s initiative HSBC GolfRoots. The Lunch is a major event in the golf industry’s calendar, and is attended by key figures from all corners of the game. This year with The Open being held at St Andrews, the lunch took place in the Old Course Hotel and was attended by almost 150 of the industry’s most influential people.

The Lunch takes place annually and is an opportunity for experts to discuss the state of the golf industry, considering where new perspectives and expansions will be able to grow the game. A wide range of industry representatives attend and this year SMS INC’s John Bushell, The BGIA’s Nigel Freemantle and Tom Irwin of National Club Golfer each gave a speech.

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SMS INC.’s John Bushell took to the floor to give a fact filled speech, focusing on golf but delving into a wider range of sports. He discussed the distances traveled by Premier League Football fans, a cricket equipment census and the amount of string used by the re-stringers at Wimbledon each year (40 miles, roughly the same length as all of the Open Championship venues by the way..). After visiting cricket, cycling and other sports, Bushell came back to golf to discuss the need to grow the game and how it must be made flexible, fast, fun and family friendly to see positive growth.

He discussed the female game and the need for action, stating 51% of male golfers who have a son say that their son players golf, whereas 12% of male golfers in the UK who have a daughter say that their daughter plays golf. 12% of registered golfers in the UK are female, compared to 38% in Germany, and 33% in the Netherlands, highlighting the gap between us and our fellow golfing nations. Now that the number of regular golfers has stabilised at 3.3 million, we can start to progress and grow the game.

Following on from Bushell’s speech, Tom Irwin of National Club Golfer took to the floor to discuss the new initiative: This Girl Golfs. Following from the success of This Girl Can in 2014, This Girl Golfs is a sister campaign being launched to encourage women and girls to take up the game, highlighting its many benefits.

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The Lunch was very well received, and those who attended received insight into the exciting campaigns hitting golf this summer to boost the game further, as well as some useful trivia to boast.

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