Rob Maxfield at the GolfBIC conference: Speaking at the GolfBIC virtual conference PGA Chief Executive Rob Maxfield, said that golf had a wonderful opportunity to grow following the boost in playing numbers it had experienced over the last nine months.
However, he said that clubs would have to “welcome with open arms” and look after those new and returning golfers and ensure that they kept them as members.
“We need the golfing bodies to unite and work together and ensure that there was one junior golf initiative not 10 and that clubs would have to look at modernising their rules and remove arcane dress codes and phone bans in the clubhouse.
“We have got to rid the game of the label of being a white, middle aged, middle class male sport,” he told Geoff Russell, Editor of Golf Business News.
The news that the age profile of the game had also dropped during lockdown was also seen as positive for the game.
“Because youngsters couldn’t do anything else during lockdown they were playing golf, while others were coming back to the game, however, a cautionary note is that my son was put off because he wasn’t allowed to play with his shirt outside his trousers. Now is that the worst thing in the world?” said Rob.
When the pandemic struck 12 months ago Rob, who has been Chief Executive since 2017, met on a daily basis with his Senior Management Team planning on how best to support their 8,000 members, their staff and to discuss finances.
“We agreed not to furlough staff but to use them to contact all of our members. We endeavoured to call members and in the end spoke with over 90% of them. We also organised regular webinars, often with as many as 1,000 people participating, on a range of subjects,” said Rob, who added that the All Party – Parliamentary Golf Group, Chaired by Craig Tracey MP, had brought all golfing bodies together on a weekly basis.
“Cycling is the sport of choice for many at the moment with people talking about going out for rides at the weekend. Let’s get more people talking about going for a game of golf at the weekend.”
GolfBIC is running for three days with a range of influential speakers, including, Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour; Phil Anderton, the R&A’s Chief Development Officer; Craig Tracey, Chair, of the All-Party Parliamentary Golf Group, and Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association.
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