Who's behind the Golf Business Forum?

The “we” is Guy Chapple and Andrew Davies, both Melbourne-based golf industry people:

Guy established WellPlayed Golf Business Consultancy in late 2011 to provide golf clubs, course owners, course operators and golf-related organisations with genuine, practical and experience-based golf business consultancy services. During his 20 years’ experience in golf club management, including 8 years as General Manager of Yarra Yarra Golf Club in Melbourne, Guy has established a comprehensive understanding of all facets of successful golf facility operations.  
More information about Guy >

Andrew is the CEO of a private family group who own Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Victoria, a public access golf course located in Australia’s premier golf destination, the Mornington Peninsula.  Andrew has overseen Eagle Ridge since 2007, following a career in both professional services and executive management. 
More information about Andrew  >

The US trip that started the conversation

[L-R] David Wren (Albert Park Driving Range); Erich Weber (Moore Park Golf); Cam Wade (Golf Australia); Guy Chapple (WellPlayed); Barb Kelly (Chirnside Park CC); Linkon Hooper (ClubLinks); Andrew Davies (Eagle Ridge & Quick18 Australia)

[L-R] David Wren (Albert Park Driving Range); Erich Weber (Moore Park Golf); Cam Wade (Golf Australia); Guy Chapple (WellPlayed); Barb Kelly (Chirnside Park CC); Linkon Hooper (ClubLinks); Andrew Davies (Eagle Ridge & Quick18 Australia)

In February last year we took a group of golf operators from Australia to San Antonio, Texas for the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) annual conference. This was Andrew’s second trip to the USA for the NGCOA annual event, which brings together golf owners and operators in the USA and is coupled with the huge Golf Industry Show as well as the annual conference of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

Our tour group featured Australian operators of high-volume public-access golf courses and driving ranges, along with Golf Australia’s Development Director Cam Wade. We shared a common interest in identifying trends in golf facility operations, learning more about our industry, and getting ahead of the game by learning from the biggest market in the world. We were also keen to see the phenomenon that is TopGolf USA first hand. More on that on the blog soon.

The trip was a success, we met some new people, got to know each other and shared plenty of ideas. It also became clear there was a need for the Australian market, including both operators and owners, to have access to this kind of experience. The need for educational sessions, custom-designed for the golf industry, is a clear standout. However, the personal interactions delivered far more than we had hoped. Sharing ideas and challenges with your peers is as old as business itself, but the golf industry (in particular those facilities serving the public golfer) lacks a forum to make this happen.

So what is a Forum, and how does it happen?

The Forum is a 2-day education event designed to bring together operators and owners in the golf industry who serve the public golfers, whether as the entire focus of their operations or as part of a hybrid member/public facility. Featuring a mix of education sessions and a key networking event, along with an exhibition featuring key industry business partners, the inaugural Forum will be held in Melbourne in July 2016. To make it all happen, a few steps were required.

Sharing ideas and challenges with your peers is as old as business itself

First we partnered with an experienced event management company in EMG Events. Experts at putting on big events, EMG helped us develop the concept and bring it to life.

Next, our experience and connections opened up doors to key industry partners: Golf Australia (our Foundation Partner) and the PGA of Australia (a Silver Sponsor). Both organisations agreed on the need for an event offering education opportunities for the Australian industry, and also sought an opportunity to connect to facilities serving public golfers. Their support was swift and absolute, and has helped make the Forum happen.

From here, to the sponsors! Events like the Forum only happen with significant support from sponsors. Our Platinum Partner, MSL Solutions, has shared our passion from the start to put on an industry-changing event. Find out more about the industry supporters who have committed to be part of the Forum, and for anyone interested sponsorship opportunities remain available. Stay tuned as we showcase business partners in the coming months.

Over to you, the delegates

Like you, we are owners and operators. We’ve worked with a range of people on recent consulting projects, including municipal bodies who own courses and operators working hard to turn a profit. We found some common themes: 

  • a desire to connect and learn from each other in order to improve returns
  • ageing infrastructure in need of reinvestment
  • new marketing plans requiring better technology to implement
  • demanding customers looking for new, (and of course cheaper) experiences. 

The issues impacting you are shared across the industry, and so we’re now spreading the word and asking you to be part of this important event.