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Episode 7: Off Course Golf’s Impact on the Game

Welcome to a fascinating episode of Golf Sustainability! In this enlightening conversation, your host, John Failla, engages in an in-depth dialogue with Greg Nathan, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Golf Foundation (NGF). Together, they explore the dynamic world of off-course golf and its profound impact on the golf industry.

Diving headfirst into the discussion, John and Greg traverse the various facets of off-course golf, encompassing driving ranges, the exhilarating world of golf entertainment exemplified by Topgolf, and the cutting-edge realm of simulator golf. A particular focus emerges on the role these activities play in cultivating “shot euphoria,” that gratifying sensation integral to the game of golf.

Drawing from his extensive expertise, Greg Nathan presents data on the remarkable growth of off-course golf participation and underscores the pivotal role of off-course golf in making golf more accessible and enjoyable, particularly for newcomers and casual players.

Unearthing the driving forces behind the meteoric rise of off-course golf, John and Greg dissect the allure of these venues, from their accessibility and entertainment  factor to the engaging gaming elements, and seamless integration of technology. In particular, the discussion spotlights the transformative impact of golf entertainment hubs like Topgolf.

Furthermore, Greg Nathan accentuates the pressing need for traditional golf courses to evolve, embracing a more welcoming and inclusive approach that breaks down the barriers preventing newcomers from transitioning to on-course golf.

This conversation doesn’t stop at showcasing the success of off-course golf; it also sheds light on the harmonious coexistence of off-course and on-course golf. Many who partake in off-course activities find themselves drawn towards the allure of a traditional golf course. This symbiotic relationship underscores how off-course golf is a gateway that introduces individuals to the broader golfing experience, paving the way for potential migration to on-course play.

In essence, this episode delves deep into the heart of the evolving golf landscape, emphasizing the pivotal role of off-course golf in shaping the sport’s future. The insights shared by Greg Nathan, the NGF President & CEO, and John Failla are invaluable, providing listeners with a profound understanding of how off-course golf is redefining the game and expanding the horizons of golfing enthusiasts. So, join us for this illuminating episode as we explore the captivating world of off-course golf and its transformative influence on the golf industry.

Topics Covered

  1. An Introduction to NGF and Off Course Golf Participation Trends
    • Timestamp: [00:00:00] to [00:18:00]
    • Summary: Discuss the growth and trends in off-course golf participation, including the different segments such as traditional driving ranges, golf entertainment (e.g., Topgolf), and simulator golf.
  2. Impact of Off Course Golf on On Course Participation
    • Timestamp: [00:18:00] to [00:27:00]
    • Summary: Explore how off-course golf activities, like driving ranges, golf entertainment, and simulators, act as a gateway to on-course golf by removing barriers and providing a more accessible and enjoyable entry point.
  3. 3. The Impact of Off-Course Experience on Green Grass Golf
    • Timestamp: [00:27:00] to [00:30:00]
    • Discuss how individuals with off-course experience, such as traditional driving ranges, golf entertainment, or simulators, are more interested in green grass golf. Explore the statistics provided regarding the percentage of new golfers with off-course experience and the increasing trend over the years.
  4. Evolution of the National Golf Foundation’s Role and Work 
    • Timestamp: [00:41:00] to [00:42:00]
    • Highlight the historical evolution of the National Golf Foundation’s role, citing the example of the golf ball reconditioning program during World War Two. Discuss the organization’s commitment to adapting to industry needs and the current focus on addressing challenges within the golf industry.
  5. Future Initiatives: Improving the Welcome to Golf Experience
    • Timestamp: [00:43:00] to [00:45:00]
    • Explore the NGF’s plans for the “Welcome to Golf” program in 2023 and beyond. Discuss the organization’s goal of creating a modern and approachable venue for individuals interested in taking up golf. Address the importance of making the golf course environment comfortable for new players and the missing element in existing online resources.

Resources and People Mentioned


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Note: Timestamps provided are approximate

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