Golf Industry Central Spring 2012 - Page 16

EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING Manufacturing of golf equipment is another area that has come under scrutiny. Golf aficionados believe the market is flooded with product. Clever marketing, they say, is luring social players and high handicappers into purchasing gear more suited to professionals. One golf club operator, who asked not to be named, said manufacturers were bringing out new models every year. “People want to keep up with the latest trends and feel obligated to buy the latest driver or set of clubs. “There was a time when a set of golf clubs would last 10-15 years.” I ask Bosley his thoughts on the subject. “In the last 25 years it’s been about the growth in hardware sales,” he said. “Once it was about equipment sales, but it’s become big corporate business. “So when did we lose track of players?’ he asked “When did they become unimportant and the making of a sale important? “In Australia, and America to an extent, we have gone through tour validation of equipment we should buy. “If it’s on TV and the pros validate it that should be good enough for you. “But amateurs don’t play the professional game. “When did we get away from products that were game improving and proven to actually help your game to make it more fun so you can get better quicker?” Bosley said golfers in country like Korea pay a premium for game improvement products. “Mostly we are average golfers and we are looking for things that give us some sort of help,” he said. “So, you’d like to see products out there that really help rather than smoke and mirrors.” COMMITTEES AND BOARDS I ask Coker what were some of the challenges golf club managers of his era faced and he was quick to say “catering and committees”. The former still hinders many managers, however, since clubs moved from formal committees to well-structured boards things have improved. “When I started working at Virginia we had a committee of 13 and they allowed retired presidents to come back on committee,” Coker explained. “We had the president, vice-president, captain, vice-captain, treasurer, two or three past-presidents and five or six other blokes on committee. “There was continual friction from the past-presidents and it became one of the main reasons why I left and went to RQ. “The committee at RQ wasn’t too bad because they were made up of businessmen and they knew what they were doing.” Perhaps there is some truth in the phrase “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”. “I remember coming home from a golf