Embracing new technology

    In his latest column Nigel Freemantle, chairman of the British Golf Association, talks about counterfeiting, the economic impact of golf to the UK economy and how advancements in new technology have changed the game.

    BGIA_Portait2Continuing on from my ‘hot off the press’ news from last month, I am pleased to be able to report that the R&A are to have a reception at The Houses of Parliament. The BGIA have been invited to attend the event which will take place on March 21 in the House of Commons. At the reception the R&A will introduce a report produced by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, which examines the economic and employment value of golf to the UK Economy. I will let you know how this goes next month!

    The BGIA are very proud to be an instrumental part of the ongoing discussions and communications within the industry, and to have the full support of MP’s with the establishment of the Parliamentary Golf Group is wonderful.

    In this month’s GOLF RETAILING issue, we have some great stories looking at how new technology has changed the game of golf in the last ten years and how important it is that all those in the industry keep up to date with new technology and trends. If you consider ‘Moore’s Law’, which states that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years, then it’s not surprising that golf, as well as many other sports industries, jumped on the bandwagon many years ago to start advancing with the times.

    The player still has to swing the club themselves of course, but technology has had a huge impact on golf. Changes in clubs, balls, shoes and the equipment that helps make the game easier and more enjoyable, have altered the game dramatically.

    We are starting to see the use of technical alloys that are being used in F1 and aerospace; computers that can develop products without the need to make samples and aerodynamics that will improve the way the air moves around the club when it is swung. New shapes and sizes of clubs have been released with better shaft construction and more tolerances; rubber compounds and polymers have emerged that enable better grip traction in all weathers.

    And let’s not forget advances in clothing with the development of microfibers and bamboo that are more comfortable and wick promoting; creative shoes have been designed with more flexible green-friendly cleats. We can now even measure to the flag, bunkers and hazards at the push of a button!

    The BGIA and its member companies are at the forefront of all these changes, and the investment in research and development is substantial. All this provides the retailer with the opportunity to sell a product that promises to turn an average golfer into a good one and a good golfer into a great one; something the golfer can never resist! The days of people saying ‘it’s not as good as it used to be’ seem to be long gone, and good riddance to them. Let us be proud of all the changes and embrace them, pushing development further forward and the game into the 22nd century and beyond.

    Finally, I wanted to touch base on the work the BGIA has been doing with FESI (The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry) on a public awareness campaign for fake products, which is due to launch very soon. As I have said in previous issues, this is an extremely serious problem which has to be stamped out sooner rather than later. If it looks too good to be true, then it is quite possibly is.

    Rather than buying a potentially fake product, funding the criminal and potentially ruining the reputation you have with your customers, make sure to check with the distributor or manufacturer of the goods as to its authenticity first. The Government are starting to get really tough on counterfeit cases and the criminal records for anyone dealing in a known fake product are growing. The BGIA is here to help any members who may have concerns about a product they have been offered or even purchased. Let’s all work together on this and stamp out these criminals.

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    Miles is the Owner and Managing Director of Robel Media, and the award winning GOLF RETAILING Magazine. With over 25 years in the media business, Miles has a wealth of experience in magazine publishing, digital media and live events. HANDICAP - 7.2