Link between golf and wellness clear to see

Philip Morley, independent executive chair of the BGIA, on the news that the organisation are launching a pilot scheme where golf will be socially prescribed through GP’s and how they are fighting back against a rise in counterfeiting.

The BGIA have just returned from another fantastic Open Championship where we held several positive meetings with other golf associations and both existing and potential members. The pinnacle of the week was definitely The Open Industry Lunch which was attended by almost 150 of the great and good of the golf industry, I was particularly pleased to see so many members taking advantage of their place at the lunch which is a great place to meet and discuss our industry.

My feedback on our industry from discussions at The Open was that it has resized in recent years across all areas, but it is as stable as it has been for a long time and is in a very ‘real’ place in terms of everyone being aware of the challenges and opportunities.

A couple of keys themes across the industry are the need to reach out and welcome non-golfers to our great game, something that the BGIA are proud to do with National Golf Month. Also, the need to retain golfers playing the game by ensuring they have fun, enjoy participating and that golf is played in a friendly and welcoming environment.

The BGIA’s Executive Board met during the week also and this helped us to progress our ‘Golf and Wellness’ initiative that will see golf being socially prescribed through GP’s in two pilot counties very soon. The Board and myself feel strongly that the health benefits of golf are not publicised enough and that should the pilot schemes be well received we can eventually roll them out country-wide to attract more people to our great game.

An issue with counterfeiting being on the increase and the staggering implications for member businesses’ was also highlighted in the meeting. It is a problem that all companies with a brand to protect must be conscious of. With this in mind, the BGIA has secured the services of London Solicitors Edmonds Marshall McMahon (EMM) to act as a private Counterfeit Prosecutor for all its members. The legal and investigative costs of counterfeit and fraud private prosecutions are recoverable from ‘central funds’, which is a Government pot put in place to reimburse private prosecutors for the costs incurred in the proceedings. The benefit for members is that they will not pay anything towards legal fees, including the solicitor’s fees and counsel fees.

National Golf Month (NGM) this year was a huge success; its major focus was on engaging with women and getting them to try golf through taster sessions and golfing experiences. This approach proved to be successful with over 86 per cent of take-up being new women golfers. Strong multichannel marketing reached over 40 million and encompassed social media, the NGM website, blog and news feed, editorial and broadcast support, alongside advertising and direct marketing. Over the first four years NGM has enabled over 160,000 to try golf in May. The BGIA is excited to be part of NGM in 2018 and keen to get all the golf associations behind it in a bid to expand its reach.