Bob Gillespie



Looking up: Get Golf Ready programs helping to spur the game’s rebound

Posted 2/6/2013 10:34:00 AM

In 2012, good weather nationwide helped produce a 7.4 percent increase in rounds of golf played in the U.S. (measured through September). But it wasn’t just the abundance of sunny days and warm temperatures that lured players back to their favorite links, or encouraged them to travel to golf destinations in South Carolina.

Yes, the increase in “days open” at golf facilities corresponded almost exactly with increases in rounds played. But another, less volatile factor in making golf more attractive has been initiatives by such golf organizations as the PGA of America, whose former chief executive Joe Steranka pushed the industry’s “Golf 2.0” program and, especially for newcomers to the game, its “Get Golf Ready,” which seeks to introduce inexperienced participants to the game.

Gene Yasuda of Golfweek magazine recently noted the impact of those plans. “Few recent programs have yielded results as impressively as Get Golf Ready, which not only teaches fundamental golf skills but (also) helps beginners feel comfortable and confident in a golf environment,” he wrote. “The program, which offers instructions in affordable group lessons, keeps beginners involved in the game and is resonating with golf’s underrepresented audiences.”

Through September 2012, Yasuda reports, Get Golf Ready reported 12,094 on-line student registrations, up 35 percent from 8,962 in 2011. Of those, 81 percent were new or former players, 57 percent were women and 27 percent minorities.

In 2013, there are more than 3,000 “approved” Get Golf Ready facilities. While Yasuda expresses concern about the commitment of some to do more than go through the motions, he says the industry needs to continue its efforts, rather than count on continued good weather to boost participation.

In South Carolina, Get Golf Ready has four full-time operations, located at Ed Sehl Golf, Inc. (16028 Kiki Court, Tega Cay), Charleston National Golf Club (1360 National Drive, Mount Pleasant), Fort Jackson Golf Club in Columbia and Eagles Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton, and more than 50 other courses and golf facilities offer programs. Anywhere in South Carolina, there are one or more locations close to anyone wanting to discover and learn about the game.

For a complete list of South Carolina facilities involved in Get Golf Ready, and links to those facilities, click here.