Golf Day!

A golf ball directly before the hole
Image via Wikipedia

Today is National Golf Day.  I know – just what we all need – another Hallmark holiday. But before you rush right out to buy your loved one a card, let me point out a few things that one can learn about business and reputation management that today might bring forward.
Golf has a bad reputation. No, it’s not the on-course gambling, drinking, and swearing that cause it (not that I have any first-hand information about that). Instead, it’s the perception that golf is an elitist sport played by rich people at inaccessible clubs. On the professional side, rich CEO’s who want to mingle with pro golfers waste their marketing money by sponsoring golf tournaments whose sole purpose is to line the already bulging pockets of the pro golfers.

None of this is true.  Let’s start with the elitist thing. $4.4million in scholarships have been awarded to over 2,400 students by the First Tee, a non-profit program devised and sponsored by the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the USGA and Augusta National Golf Club.  Many of the participants in First Tee are minorities.   Selfish? The tournaments on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour collectively generated another record amount for charity in 2008, with a total of $124 million. This brings the Tour’s all-time charity total to more than $1.3 billion.

Having sold golf at two different TV networks, I can tell you that no company invests in a tournament without a careful assessment of the marketing return. While I’m the first to applaud accountability, the government telling banks they shouldn’t sponsor golf is bad for the banks’ marketing. This from CNBC:

A Bank of America official told us that for every $1 they spend on sports marketing, they net $3. They also said that out of all the new checking accounts that were opened in 2008, 10 percent of those were attributed to their sports marketing programs.

Golf needs a day so that people will understand that as an industry that benefits the U.S. economy to the tune of $195 Billion it does a lot of good.  Does it need better reputation management?  Sure, and this is a good start.

Were you aware of this?  How do you feel about golf as an industry and as a marketing vehicle?  I know how I feel and I think I may just go out this afternoon and show it!

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Filed under Reality checks, sports business

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