A Warm Welcome at The Open Industry Lunch

    The golf industry gathered for the Open Industry Lunch on 19 July, sponsored by the Golf Foundation, Sporting Insights and the British Golf Industry Association. BGIA Chair Martin Wild welcomed all attendees and took a moment to pay tribute to Di Gilder who passed away late last year. Di’s absence was deeply felt and the event with which she was so synonymous was the perfect opportunity for the industry to honour her memory.

    BGIA: Thriving and growing the game
    The BGIA has cause for celebration, with membership at record levels and members working together to support the association’s projects for the good of the industry. Whilst there are still some notable absentee brands, it is hoped that they will see the good work being carried out to grow the game and get involved.

    Encouraging women’s golf: A collective effort
    One of the highlights of the BGIA’s activities was providing financial support to Nicole Wheatley and her team, enabling them to create the remarkable documentary Women in Golf: Breaking with Tradition. This captivating film, broadcast on Sky Golf, provided valuable insights into the development of women’s golf and the women making significant contributions to the sport. The BGIA are also proudly sponsoring the Women in Golf Awards, scheduled during the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath.
    The industry recognised the inspiring transformation in women’s golf over the years and Nicole’s relentless efforts to promote gender equality, highlighting the enormous talent of women in the game. The growth of women’s participation in the sport was underscored by a remarkable statistic: 28% of all adult participants in the last year were women – firm evidence of the positive impact of these initiatives.

    PGA Play: A fruitful partnership
    The BGIA has forged a significant partnership with the PGA to promote the PGA Play website, making it the go-to hub for all things golf. It is a natural partnership: BGIA members generate the income through their goods and services, whilst the PGA professional services the needs of the golfing consumer through their retail and teaching services. PGA professionals are at the heart of every golfer’s journey and are of vital importance to golf clubs.

    On 30 March BGIA member brands collectively promoted the PGA Play website, showcasing their substantial influence. The staggering results were a testament to the power of collaboration—website traffic surged by 165%, lesson searches increased by 162%, new user registrations soared by 195% and the website received a flood of inquiries – clear evidence of the reach of BGIA members and their associated athletes. A second promotional campaign took place during the week beginning 3 July.

    The BGIA recognises the importance of working alongside the PGA and its members – their role in retaining and growing the numbers playing the game should not be underestimated.

    Supporting careers in golf: An exciting venture
    Martin Wild announced the BGIA executive board’s decision to provide financial support for a new ‘Careers in Golf’ programme in collaboration with the GB&I Golf Forum. Further details of this transformative project in shaping the future of golfing careers will be released via the Golf Forum in the coming weeks.

    John Heggarty: A Tribute to a proud Scot with a stellar career
    John Heggarty’s golfing journey is a tale of passion and dedication. Born in Liverpool but passionate about his Scottish upbringing, he honed his skills at Dumfries & County Golf Club, becoming a proficient player.

    In 1975, at just 17-years-old, John turned professional, starting as an assistant at Hayston Golf Club in Glasgow before moving to Shaw Park Golf Club in Alloa. Fate brought him back to Liverpool, where he became an assistant to John Morgan at Royal Liverpool.

    At 21, he secured his first full professional job at Wirral Ladies Golf Club. Within two years, he returned to Royal Liverpool as the Head Professional, a role he has held for an impressive 41 years, making this his third Open Championship with the club.

    Beyond his club, John actively served on various PGA committees, rising to become Chairman of the PGA North Region and a member of the PGA Board of Directors.
    In 2013, John earned the prestigious Master Professional status, awarded to very few who make an extraordinary impact in their careers. He further cemented his legacy in 2017 when he received the highest honour, the PGA Captaincy.

    After an incredible 48-year career, John is now retiring. The BGIA recognised and celebrated his remarkable contribution to the sport.

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.