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New event to address the business of golf

New event to address the business of golf
December 22, 2015

A new event to bring together Australia’s golf facility owners, operators, industry leaders and business partners is to be staged in Melbourne in July next year.

To be held at the Melbourne Park Function Centre on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th July next year, the Golf Business Forum 2016 aims to be Australia’s largest ever golf business gathering.

The Forum has been developed by Guy Chapple and Andrew Davies from WellPlayed Golf Business Consultancy, working with key industry groups and suppliers.

Chapple and Davies have a long history in the golf industry: Chapple as a general manager of member-based clubs (20 years) and more recently as a golf business consultant (four years), and Davies as owner of Eagle Ridge Golf Course on the Mornington Peninsula since 2007, golf business consultant and Chief Executive of technology provider Quick18 Australia.

Introducing the Forum, Davies explains “in recent years, WellPlayed’s project work has required us to circulate amongst many public-access golf facilities - including some of Australia’s busiest sites.

“We have seen industry-leading innovation, as well as many facilities struggling with issues around capital investment and business strategy. It quickly became apparent to us that there was a genuine desire amongst these people to connect with other facility operators, owners and the broader golf industry.

“Historically the industry hasn’t engaged very well with the public-access side of the market, and the Forum is a key opportunity to change that.”

While golf is one of Australia’s most popular participation sports, it faces a range of challenges and, according to Davies “must adapt to ensure golf remains relevant to today and tomorrow’s consumer.”

The thinking behind the Golf Business Forum 2016 is based on the changing ways in which golf consumers are engaging with golf via different kinds of facilities.

As Davies adds “public access golf courses, member-based clubs, driving ranges, mini-golf facilities and the new breed of golf simulators all have a vital role to play in golf’s development.

“According to Golf Australia, the overwhelming majority of Australia’s 1.2 million estimated golfers are public golfers who are not tied to a member-based club.

“Given the sheer number of public golfers, and the diverse forms of golf participation, the public golfer is one of key drivers for the future of Australian golf. “

Within the broad range of the golf industry, the Golf Business Forum 2016 will bring together the hundreds of people impacting the future of golf in Australia - most of whom have never been in the one place, at the one time.

Bringing these owners, operators and businesses together, many of whom traditionally work in isolation, the Golf Business Forum 2016 will present previously unavailable opportunities to share success and drive industry innovation through collaboration.

The event has attracted the support of the industry’s leading suppliers and organisations.

MSL Solutions, owners of market leading software solutions and golfer websites, including Micropower, GolfLink ( and iseekgolf (, is the Forum’s Platinum Partner.

Explaining the involvement, MSL Solutions Managing Director and Chief Executive Craig Kinross states “MSL Solutions are delighted to be involved with this ground-breaking event.

“Through our leading brands, we pride ourselves on developing and providing innovative software solutions and web platforms to the golf industry.

“The Golf Business Forum shares our innovative approach and the event will provide a valuable education and networking environment for the public-access side of the industry.”

Key industry suppliers Club Car and Toro have also confirmed their support from an early stage.

A full suite of sponsor and exhibition opportunities have now been made available, and are expected to be pursued by organisations wishing to engage with both golf facilities and the public golfer market.

Industry bodies behind the Forum 
A range of industry organisations have also committed to Golf Business Forum 2016 with Golf Australia confirmed as the event’s Foundation Partner. 

Noting this involvement, Golf Australia Chief Executive Stephen Pitt adds “Golf Australia is thrilled with the opportunity to support the first ever Golf Business Forum as a Foundation Partner. 

“The event is a great step in assisting us to connect with the public-access side of the industry.

“We believe the health and success of both member clubs and public golf facilities is critical to the future of the game.” 

The PGA of Australia has also partnered with the Forum was part of their ongoing efforts to educate their members and enhance golf business performance in Australia while Parks and Leisure Australia, Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association and Society of Australian Golf Course Architects have all committed to support the Forum. 

What to expect at the Forum 
Featuring a single theatre with a combination of key-note speaker, guest speaker and all-panel discussions, Golf Business Forum 2016 will deliver relevant and focused educational content in a format not seen before in the industry. 

A networking function will bring together delegates, industry leaders and sponsors to foster the connections that ensure engagement continues well beyond the event while an exhibition space will feature leading industry suppliers and facilitate small-scale workshops as well as work and meeting spaces. 

Leading industry participants and content-specialists from inside and outside the golf industry will discuss the issues facing today’s golf business, including: 

• Sport and golf-specific participation trends and initiatives 
• Customer engagement and building loyalty
• Marketing, pricing and managing your presence online 
• Retail best practice and competing with the off-course and online retailers 
• The future of the game and how we can help grow golf in all its forms 

Case studies of successful operations and business models will be highlighted, including Moore Park Golf in Sydney, Yarra Bend Golf in Melbourne, and Wembley Golf Complex in Perth. 

Feature presenters confirmed to date include Lodewijk Klootwijk, Chief Executive of the European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA); Jay Karen, Chief Executive of the USA National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA); Tony Hallam, Chairman, Yarra Bend Golf; Kim Ellis, Chief Executive, Centennial Parklands (Moore Park Golf); Paul Fairweather, Manager Research & Information, Australian Sports Commission and Danny Bowerin, Senior Strategy Consultant, Repucom.

More announcements regarding feature presenters will continue in 2016. 

Click here to view event details in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.





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