BGIA Full of Optimism

    Nigel Freemantle, chairman of the British Golf Industry Association, is full of optimism following the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show

    I am very proud to announce that the BGIA had its largest presence ever at the PGA Merchandise Show in 2014, in its fourth consecutive year as an exhibitor. For those of you who were able to make it out to the show, I hope you’ll agree it was a great start to the year. The pervading mood was positive and everyone I had the opportunity to speak to was upbeat and looking forward to the year ahead.

    Even though it wasn’t quite my ‘London Bus’ design dream (I refer you to my comments in December issue), the new ‘Pod’ system in the BGIA Pavilion worked well and I think with a few tweaks it could be a winning formula for years to come. Many of the members were showcasing their products, and even our new non-golf associate member ‘Global Freight Solutions’ got involved. This award-winning independent freight company assisted some of the UK exhibitors in sending their goods out to the US in advance of the show. If anyone would like further details on GFS, please contact Ciara Morgan at the BGIA by email at


    Now with the PGA Show behind us for another year, the BGIA is pushing full steam ahead with the plans for National Golf Month in May. I am pleased to announce that Padraig Harrington is the face of the National Golf Month website; such a great ambassador of the game and so well liked. The website will be up and running in February at

    The support for this campaign is growing, with many manufacturers and retailers getting involved, including Foremost, which has developed some really unique initiatives such as its ‘Grab a Golfing Buddy’ programme and ‘Get Golfing Again’ product deals. The European Tour is also giving its full support to the program, and hopefully so will the Ladies European Tour. If you would like to find out how you can get involved, please contact Ciara.

    Woburn is waiting

    The BGIA Charity Golf Day at Woburn on April 8 is looking to be another fun occasion, with all proceeds going towards the Grow Golf and Golf Foundation funds. All BGIA members and associate members are invited to enter this event. Perhaps you’ll be able to take the title away from the current holders; Golf Datatech’s Phil Barnard and the team from Motocaddy! If you are not able to enter a team, you could help a very good cause by donating some prizes for the day, which includes an auction in the evening. Ciara would love to hear from you!

    Speeding up

    Lastly, having attended the 2013 Speedgolf Championships at Bandon Dunes in Oregon, I wanted to draw your attention to this new phenomenon in the States. Speedgolf is pretty much just like it sounds; golf played at a very fast pace. Competitors play nine or 18 holes and run between shots. Scores are calculated by adding the time taken to complete the round and the total strokes taken. Competitors generally carry five or six clubs in a small bag, put on their running shoes and are ready to go. The only real differences from traditional golf are that the flagstick is left in when putting, and lost balls are dropped anywhere on the line of flight of the errant shot, with a one-shot penalty.

    The World Champion is Rob Hogan from Galway, Ireland, with a final Speedgolf score of 236.55. Just to give you an idea of the speed he played the course, his first round score was gross 77 and timed at 39 minutes and 31 seconds. Impressive!

    If you are interested in starting a Speedgolf league for your course, please contact me at What a great way to keep fit, play golf and use up those dawn tee times for an hour. Speedgolf will come to Europe in 2014 and is an exciting addition to the ever expanding keep fit trends, which will allow those athletic golfers to combine two of their favourite sports.