Keith Pelley calls on golf clubs to share ideas

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 27, 2018 15:18

The chief executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley, has encouraged venues to share ideas and innovate to grow the game.

He was delivering the keynote speech at the European Tour Properties Conference at London Golf Club to a 26-strong network of world-class golf venues, including delegates from the Middle East and south east Asia.

Keith Pelley said: “I believe bringing venues together and sharing ideas is absolutely critical. We know that golf needs to modify itself and extend the demographic if it is to grow – and the best way to do this is to share ideas, which is what we are doing here at this conference.

“Those ideas are not only coming from The European Tour; it is a time for us to listen and hear what is going on out there in the market place and then we can adapt.”

During a question and answer session, Keith Pelley talked about the importance of new, entertaining formats in golf to reach and engage larger audiences, emphasising GolfSixes and the opportunity for venues to adapt the format for their own club competitions.

He also encouraged venues to embrace customer-centric innovation, specifically referencing Topgolf, golf simulators and innovative apps such as eGull Pay, to be launched at GolfSixes and supported by the European Tour, enabling golfers to play and pay by the hole.

Keith Pelley added: “The European Tour Properties network is very important to us as it is a great building ground to create new tournaments, whether it be on the Staysure Tour, the Challenge Tour or the European Tour itself. These tournaments benefit both the European Tour and individual venues.”

Tournament hosting was a key topic during the conference. Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Europe director, and Paul Armitage, general manager of Le Golf National, presented insights on preparations for The 2018 Ryder Cup and HNA Open de France, a Rolex Series event.

Stephen Follett, CEO of London Golf Club, also spoke about the benefits of tournament hosting, from the European Masters and the Volvo World Match Play Championship to the inaugural Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, which will take place in August 2018.

There were also insightful presentations from senior European Tour personnel including Tom Johnson, head of Marketing, Roddy Williams, head of Content, and Max Hamilton, head of Commercial Partnerships and Sales.

European Tour Properties director of Operations, Iain McInally, said: “European Tour Properties is an expanding network and its value is clearly demonstrated in the conference, which has become an important annual event for our venues. It is a place to meet, share ideas, learn and do business.

“As the European Tour becomes increasingly global and more consumers engage with our brand, trusting in it as a stamp of quality, the more opportunities and value there will be for venues.”

European Tour Properties continues to grow and in addition to the 26 world-class venues, two projects currently in their development phase are also part of the expanding portfolio: Rossington Hall near Doncaster, England and Tosse, located in south west France.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 27, 2018 15:18
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  1. neil sjoberg May 4, 23:29

    Spot on James : the handicap system should be rewarding every time you play-not penalisng every time you go over handicap-we can all do that but its the few flash in the pan rounds that show our true potential which may only last a few holes but is enough to win a game.

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  2. James April 6, 11:53

    Innovation isn’t always the key – the introduction of a change of handicap system actually had a negative impact and was dedigned to stamp out a problem that really was best dealt with locally andcwas blown out of proportion! It is a change in attitudes required be more welcoming to all especially new golfers or potential new memvers from beginners to juniors to women to retirees – proffer happy hours for new players? Free or reduced fees at certain times for new players -especially female players. Hold more family tournaments such as Family Foursomes?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Pete April 5, 20:25

    Distance is OK for those who can control it? Unfortunately 95% of golfer’s can’t. So, it’s into the woods, high grass or water for them.

    Dustin Johnson recently hit a 489 yds. drive in tournament play, but they say it isn’t the golf ball?

    Distance has killed the game, and they don’t even realize it.

    “Economize or learn to agonize”
    Confucius 1540 AD

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  4. Pete March 29, 16:42

    You have to realize that the love of the game has been killed off due to the rampant rush of technology and an golf industry blinded by a bigger is better philosophy. Also, the game has lost meaning to the new generations and is no longer relevant. With the games simplicity lost and no one coming to save the day….empty fairways pay no bills!
    So to restore the games integrity:
    Create reduced 60% distance Hybrid golf balls( meeting golf ball standards), which will proportionally reduce the corresponding (Hybrid) course distance by 40%, allowing the same golf game to be played in 1/2 the time (2-3 hours), which will reduce the overall cost of the game, which will reduce the difficulty & frustration of the experience. Sustainable Hybrid courses of 3000 to 5000 yds. could then be built or retrofitted utilizing only 1/3 of land & resource use.
    Making the game simple and enjoyable is paramount to growing the game.

    Reply to this comment
    • Hanno Kross April 1, 11:28

      As a golf club manager I’m applauding to your comment!

      As an example:

      In 1982, Fred Couples was a limberbacked 22-year-old with immense flexibility. He averaged 268.7 yards in driving distance, which was eighth on the PGA Tour.

      In 2009, Couples was a 49-year-old with a decade-and-a-half battling serious back problems. He averaged 297.5 yards in driving distance, which was 24th on the PGA Tour.

      I just checked from the PGA site the statistics – in 2018 if you have averaged 300y in PGA tour, you are 57th on the tour, in 1998 John Daly was the first in the season averaging 299,4 yards.

      The only one who benefits from this are the equipment and ball producers – average player, who pays actually for the maintaining of the golf courses, are paying to cut more, to build bigger until there is noone anymore who enjoys because it’s 600y from tee to green which is “normal”

      Reply to this comment
    • neilsjoberg May 4, 23:26

      Hi Pete although you are right using 60% golf balls will, of course, make courses longer not shorter.The handicap system is the big culprit.Not fun or rewarding compared to other sports record keeping that rewards every small effort
      The rest of the world hace gone over to the american method of handicapping which is very popular England golf say we are not gpoing to change.Defending EGolf jobs against golf club support..

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