New Year's Resolutions

jk.jpgBy Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO

There are many cynics out there who like to scoff at New Year’s resolutions. I don’t count myself among them. I love this time of year. New beginnings. Level-setting what’s important. Resolutions come with a strong sense of optimism and aspiration. What’s wrong with that? Do some or most go unrealized or unfulfilled? Sure. At least until next year. But if we are disciplined and focused on our resolutions, we may indeed realize some achievement.

As we leave behind perhaps the most bi-polar year in golf history, I offer a few New Year’s wishes for the golf industry.

I wish for continued, tight collaboration among the governing bodies and allied associations in golf. We were a great team working to keep our industry open and safe when COVID wreaked havoc. Let’s continue that spirit as we show how good and important our industry is to public policy makers, the media and beginners to our game.

I wish for all of us to not lose sight of the importance of achieving greater diversity in the game, workplace and leadership table through new practices of inclusion and equity. We have catch up work to do.

I wish for more course owners and operators to take control of their marketing and customer relationships, and to be ever-vigilant about those who are leveraging your hard-earned brand and inventory for their benefit. It’s time to strengthen your center of gravity in all this.

I wish for golf courses to shed out-dated conventions (like tee boxes labeled by gender) for progressive business practices.

I wish for golf course operators to emulate big technology companies, rather than watch them outpace you. Build a golf entertainment/simulator business at your course and create your own subscription programs.

I wish for the professional game to see the return of crowds witnessing our game’s best men and women up close.

I wish for the perpetual return of all those people who discovered the goodness of golf this past year.

Most importantly, I wish for COVID to leave our society and for the good health of our members, allies and friends.

We all know Ben Hogan’s famous quote, “The most important shot in golf is the next one.” Likewise, the most important year for our industry is the next one. Let’s make it a good one, friends.