Golf Canada held its AGM over the weekend in Montreal, and released its annual report at the same time. Always interesting reading, there are some items worth noting both on the positive and negative sides:
Two years ago, GC ED Scott Simmons stressed how important the new membership drive was, especially since he’d asked the board to allocate millions in support of it. Since then the organization has gone through a couple of executives who were supposed to lead the initiative and ended up flat overall. It didn’t add to its membership base, but did keep fewer members from leaving and identified clubs that were perhaps fudging their numbers and not paying their share.
Here was Simmons’ remarks when the program was launched:
“If we aren’t successful with this, I don’t see any other initiatives that we can do to raise revenue to support our programs.”
During 2011, Golf Canada continued to focus on membership revitalization and growth as our key goal and
our number one priority. The membership initiative was implemented during the 2010 golf season and we have seen success with a slight increase in member clubs and public player membership. Our total spending in this area will be reduced, but the organization will continue to focus on delivering superior value to its current members and will increase membership levels by promoting the benefits of membership
During 2011, the Board approved a motion to eliminate the Membership Fund, which was allocated a total amount of $5 million in 2009, and realize spending in this area as part of normal operations. The plan to build a sustainable membership base through member club retention and recruitment and
growing the number of public golfer members has not changed, but the focus has been shifted based on marketplace learnings from the past two years.
The golfcanada.ca site also houses our Handicap Network and to the critics that say golfers don’t care about maintaining an official handicap, I respectfully disagree. The proof is in the numbers – in 2011, more than 340,000 golfers posted over 8 million scores. Those golfers that tracked their handicap joined thousands more Canadian golf enthusiasts in helping to make golf- canada.ca Canada’s most viewed source for golf news.
We are also committed to growing the Golf in Schools program, which introduces golf through the elementary school physical education curriculum. Our efforts in 2012 will be bolstered thanks to the support of Callaway Golf who has come on board as presenting sponsor.
It’s about exposure – getting clubs into the hands of children and providing a basic introduction to the sport. In less than three years, the program is in more than 1,300 schools. Our goal is to get golf into the majority
of the 10,000 Canadian elementary schools. With a world-class curriculum and the full endorsement of Physical Education Canada, Golf in Schools is helping to introduce thousands of children to the game. In 2012, we also plan to roll out a high school program so that thousands more young adults can maintain a connection to the sport.
The 2011 RBC Canadian Open was held at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. While the event operated at a small deficit, the presentation on site, the corporate support and the support of the host club all contributed to making the event an overall success. As a result of focused efforts by Golf Canada and its key partner, RBC, we were able to collectively contribute $1.14 million to charities in 2011.
For many years Golf Canada was able to rely on net revenues of approximately $2.0 million annually from the Canadian Open. However, since 2007, the changes in our agreement with the PGA TOUR and related changes to the value of TV coverage has made it difficult for the event to provide the same levels of financial support to the organization, but we expect the event will operate at a breakeven level for the foreseeable future. We strongly believe that the Canadian Open is an important event for Canadian golf fans and we are prepared to continue to operate it on this basis.