by Jeff Sutherland
Barely into his start, Golf Canada’s new CEO is already making the rounds.
Laurence Applebaum, who spent the last five years as executive vice-president of the Women’s Tennis Association, set an aggressive 21-day schedule to meet with golf industry leaders across Canada… all on their home turf.
His stop in BC was July 19th, hosted by the Point Grey Golf and Country Club and was an opportunity for break out meetings with four separate groups including the directors of the Allied Golf Association (AGA) of BC (a collective of individual provincial golf sector leaders). The meeting was a mix of meet-and-greet, tailgate, and open discussion about specific programs and services offered by Golf Canada. Topics ranged from the number of golf associations across Canada, to detailed talk about green fee pricing at Vancouver municipal golf courses, charitable contributions originating from golf in Canada and the financial state of the industry itself.
In review of AGA-BC’s efforts, tangible success stories were brought up such as the recent increase in matched government golf marketing funding from $50k to $250k, development of a new IPM manual for turf managers with $35k from the Ministry of Environment to help, three successful golf awareness days in Victoria and regulatory advocacy work on the issues of pesticides, water use and liquor laws.
Applebaum was visibly impressed remarking, “This is an awesome initiative, I haven’t met with any other group like this in the other provinces.”
It is clear that growing Golf Canada and driving the game is on Applebaum’s mind, “There are financial opportunities for Golf Canada to pursue such as Olympic sport funding and additional corporate sponsorship… We need to create a profitable, robust business of golf. Marketing and communication is key.”
But it is also clear that Applebaum would like to see the role and perception of Golf Canada change. “Golf Canada has been described as being an inch deep and a mile wide. We need to narrow our focus, change our culture and as a take-away from this meeting, expect ‘upservice’ from Golf Canada in the near future.”