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The Dashboard
Mayor of Crazy Town's 2012 Top 10

Volume 2, Issue 12 – December 2012

Fellow Citizens of Crazy Town -

Cue the dramatic Hollywood movie preview music…

IN A WORLD… where the continuum of golf’s glorious traditions, competition, recreation and innovation rolls along… let’s reflect upon some of the most interesting talking-points in the game.  I’ll leave the fiery debates to the 19th Hole crowd around the globe, but to follow is my Top 10 Stories of the Year.

  1. 2012 as a “comeback year” for the golf business – Year-over-year increase of approximately 27,000,000 rounds and a positive financial impact on golf courses to the happy tune of $750,000,000 to $1B.  Still a long way to go, but a welcome change from the declines of recent years.

  2. The PGA’s GOLF 2.0 initiative - All you cynics out there (I’m from New York, and yes, it takes one to know one!) should really be applauding the money-where-their-mouth-is” dedication of the Association to activating the 25+ million Americans who didn’t play golf last year but who are seriously interested in playing golf (AKA “latent demand”).  Ted Bishop, Darrell Crall and Pete Bevacqua and their 27,000 members really do deserve your support.  Get Golf Ready is a terrific flagship program that works.  GGR and the game itself simply need to be sold better. If you need a tip on how to do that, call my friend Del Ratcliffe in Charlotte! 

  3. Golf in the Olympics/Host Course Drama – I sure hope they can resolve the property dispute and start building that Rio course soon. Gil Hanse certainly was an inspired selection to design the layout (see Boston Golf Club and his redesign at Fenway in NY).  Doesn’t our newly appointed Ryder Cup Captain know that Olympic golf isn’t as much about the competition (can we please pick a good format, though?) as it is about how it will encourage growth of the game driven by national ministries of sport?  Courses are unquestionably being built outside the U.S. as a result of “the movement” (nearly 300 openings outside the U.S. in the past two years and another 300 currently under construction) and imagine the affect on the business if there was a Chinese gold medal winner?  How can we set that up?

  4. The Broomstick and Anchoring – A continuation of the epic conflict between forces like tradition, integrity, challenge, creativity, innovation, and even politics. The best thing about the issue is that it makes us all think deeply about the game and what’s most important to each of us, as golfers, administrators, guardians… and as business people.

  5. TaylorMade & Callaway – has anyone ever had a hot streak like TM’s in the history of golf club marketing?  Credit to our friends in Carlsbad who push their chips to the center of the table… and keep winning.  However, with Chip Brewer at the helm of Callaway, we can all look forward to an exciting battle… and golfers will be the winners.  The quality, design and performance of the bats and balls used in the game today is mind-boggling.

  6. This will be the seventh consecutive year of reduction in U.S. golf courses – Though, don’t let the media tell you that closure of golf courses is indicative of the decline of demand to play. Simply not true.  Net reduction of 500 courses since 2006 (out of roughly 16,000), is not a story at all.  We opened 400 new courses in a single year during the boom.  At this pace, we would close more than 1,000 more courses over the next 5-7 years and it would improve the health of the existing courses and the impact on golf demand would be negligible.  There is plenty of supply to serve America’s golfers… and the quality of that supply has never been better.

  7. Rory McIlroy – What a talented player, humble man and a classy ambassador for the game.  Not since Tiger’s “old swing” have we envied another player’s motion so much. I hope his equipment change brings more victories and his adjustment is smooth.  The history of peaking players switching their scalpels is not a pretty one. 

  8. Ryder Cup Comeback – The dark side of Brookline.  Langer and every golfer in Germany held their breath when Kaymer drew back his putter.

  9. Tiger wins three big tournaments… It was a year that would make a career for almost any other player… and everyone yawned.  For the player getting the most positive attention… see #7

  10. Despite the fact that fewer than 20 new facilities opened in the U.S. in 2012… there are still world-class American curtain-droppers like Streamsong’s 36-holes and glorious international debuts like Keiser’s Cabot Links and Trump’s triumph in Scotland.

Happy Holidays and we’ll see you next month in Orlando!!!

Cheers from the HMCT (aka Greg Nathan, NGF)

Why “Mayor of Crazy Town?”

I invite you to click here,bk3Ng3L2,w to read the first installment of this blog.


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