Content from past Symposia

Golf Demand – How Participation is Evolving
Presented by Joe Beditz, 2017

The NGF’s SOI is grounded in key metrics and trends – not click-bait headlines and sound bites. Despite those who would argue otherwise, there are more positive than negative golf business indicators. As in previous years, NGF shared its perspective on the state of the game, and the trends that affected the business. The audience got a first look at new measures of golf engagement that went beyond the number of people who played on a golf course.

Golf Supply – Quality vs. Quantity
Presented by Joe Beditz, 2017

NGF CEO Joe Beditz shared NGF’s perspective on the latest metrics and trends in golf facility supply. Despite the 10-year trend of net reductions, the golf course industry continued to go through a period of natural correction that is expected to continue. However, investment in golf facilities remained significant – focused largely in renovation – and the quality of U.S. golf supply continued to improve. Dr. Beditz explored various scenarios that could bring golf supply and demand closer to equilibrium.


It’s All About Priorities – Where Does Golf Stand?
Presented by Rich Luker, Ph.D., 2017

Rich Luker, Ph.D. is a leading social scientist (Luker on Trends), researcher and speaker who has been operating for 30+ years at the intersection of sports fandom, participation and evolving behavior. Luker founded the ESPN Sports Poll in 1994 to deeply study America’s engagement with sports. Luker shared his insights on the paradigm shifts in behavior that determine how free time is spent. He shed light on how well golf is positioned based on changing priorities; and what golf can learn from other sports about building the type of loyalty and community that profoundly impacts engagement.

Junior Golf: How Do We Measure Success?
Presented by David Lorentz, 2017

NGF has undertaken the most comprehensive youth golf study ever. During March of 2017, initial surveys were completed by more than 2,500 households covering 4,000 children, including at least 200 for each year of age from 6-to-17. We know how many juniors “play on a course” in a given year – but how many of the 50 million 6-17 year olds in the U.S. have we actually reached? What impression have we made? How does golf stack up against other sports and activities that compete for time and attention? The Symposium audience heard the preliminary results and learned more about NGF’s full report on junior golf which will come out in 2018.

ACE Talks – Ideas Worth Sharing 2017
If you’re familiar with TED talks, they are short, focused presentations where speakers share their views on how to change the world. At the 2017 Symposium, the NGF introduced ACE Talks (Advocacy, Change and Engagement). ACE talks inform, inspire and entertain. The Symposium featured several engaging ACE speakers:
Jason Harris (Owner, Orr Lake Golf Club, Ontario):
Co-opetition – How one golf course created thousands of golfers
Jay Karen (Chief Executive Officer, NGCOA): No Reward Without Risk -We’ve got to help golf course owners act like entrepreneurs
Del Ratcliffe, PGA (Owner, Ratcliffe Golf Services): Selling Golf – The secret to growing the game is a secret


Executive Sentiment
Presented by Joe Beditz and panel of industry executives, 2016

Based on feedback from attendees at previous meetings, the 2016 “State of the Industry” included a session on executive sentiment. In the weeks prior to the Symposium, NGF conducted dozens of interviews with golf executives to ask for their outlook on the game and business. Attendees were briefed on what NGF learned, and heard firsthand from Callaway’s Chip Brewer, Peter Hill from Billy Casper Golf, PGA TOUR Superstore’s Dick Sullivan and Bill Brown from The TORO Company who all took the stage and shared their views on the business and took questions from the audience.


The Affluent Market – Trends That May Impact Golf’s Heaviest Spenders
Presented by Chandler Mount, 2016

Prior to the 2016 Symposium, NGF noticed a change in the golf behavior of the $150K+ income cohort. To shed some light on this market, Chandler Mount from YouGov delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the affluent Americans that golf and other industries rely upon for a meaningful component of revenues. YouGov is a leader domestically and internationally in studying the trends in spending, recreation and habits of wealthy families.
is relied upon by more than 100 of the world’s leading youth-oriented brands.

The Ten Types of Innovation
Presented by Francesco Fazio, 2016

Francesco Fazio, principal with Doblin, the innovation practice of Deloitte Consulting, used Doblin’s unique analytical framework, based on the Ten Types of Innovation, to show how successful brands and businesses across industries have created competitive advantage and sustainable growth through a disciplined approach to innovation. Francesco has viewed golf through their lens and spoke about where golf has been innovating, and how further innovation could help create dynamic growth and vitality in the game and business of golf.

Winning the Numbers Game - Retaining and Engaging New Golfers
Presented by Joe Beditz, 2016
The unique “closed door” environment of the Symposium provides an opportunity to candidly discuss our business’s greatest challenges and opportunities. NGF research shows that golf remains attractive to a staggering number of Americans and our industry has a significant upside if we can only accelerate changes to the way we invite and on-board willing beginners and increase our ability to convert them into passionate golfers. In this session, we took a close look at golfer engagement and retention, and shared suggestions as to how the industry could improve results.
Golf & the Millennial Generation
Presented by David Lorentz and Jeff Fromm, 2015
In 2014, NGF Symposium attendees learned that golf participation among America’s 18-34 year olds – today’s Millennial generation – declined by about 30% over the last 20 years. We were able to attribute at least half of the drop to economic factors and changing demographics. In 2015, NGF’s research team set out to explain the rest of the drop by exploring this generation’s relationship with golf. Jeff Fromm, co-author of Marketing to Millennials, teamed up with NGF Market Research Manager David Lorentz and presented key findings from a year-long study undertaken by NGF in cooperation with Jeff’s company, FutureCast.