Golf Canada Executive Director Scott Simmons says the ambitious plan for relaunching and rebranding the RCGA has been a success despite the departure of several high-profile employees and the fact it has only managed 10,000 new members in 2010. Initially Golf Canada hoped to have 40,000 new members, a target proved unrealistic.
“We’ve recognized that achieving that goal was not realistic and we have to be more tactical in our approach,” Simmons said yesterday.
Simmons’ remarks came on the heels of the departure of Steve Carroll, the former executive director of the CPGA, who announced he was leaving his role as regional membership director to join run volleyball in Ontario. Carroll told Canadiangolfer.com that while he was occasionally “frustrated” with the inability to meet the targets set out at the launch of Golf Canada, he was impressed by Simmons’ determination and was convinced the organization would find success in time.
“It was a good experience for me,” Carroll says. “I didn’t apply for any other position other than the job I got.”
Carroll says he expects “there will be course corrections made” in Golf Canada’s approach, adding that one of the lessons learned is that Canadian golfers weren’t interested in the offers that were tied to membership. Companies involved with Golf Canada included Aeroplan, Royal Bank, iTravel2000.com and others.
“Golfers aren’t that interested in the tangible benefits,” Carroll says. “They are interested in the health of the game and how they can promote that.”
Simmons said he didn’t expect Carroll would be in the position for a long time, but did expect him to last longer than a year. He added that despite missing projections, which were based on mailing lists from some of the companies participating in the relaunch, Simmons called the numbers “positive.” He said under the RCGA membership had dipped from 400,000 in 2004 to 350,000 in 2009. The loss of 10,000 members annually was stopped, he said, and the organization will add 10,000 members by the end of the year.
“If we can get our mandate out to Canadians about growing the game, they will support it,” he said.
Simmons says he is presenting the plan for 2011 to Golf Canada’s board of directors. That plan will include a “more boisterous communications strategy,” that will include revisions to Golf Canada’s website that is run by the Globe and Mail.