The Owner’s Story
It all began when owners in the Barrie and surrounding area had enough of the decreasing pool of golfers and lack of participation. There had been lots of talk in the Barrie golf community about the need to grow the game. The owners in the area decided to stop looking at their fellow golf courses as competitors and realize a few things:
- The population if the Barrie and surrounding area is steadily growing
- The current number of golfers is finite and by all accounts decreasing
- If the population is increasing and the number of golfers is decreasing, it is not the golf courses down the road who are your main competitors!
They realized that if they all wanted to try and stay in business they need to get together and target the other games, sports, and activities that compete for people’s time and money. And that is exactly what they did.
In July 2015, several golf course owners came together to discuss Growing the Game of through sponsoring Schools with the National Golf in Schools Program. At the end of the meeting, all in attendance committed to sponsoring 2 schools each and to provide 2 school visits over the course of the winter. They decided to work together to grow the game by sharing resources, pros and information to better golf as a whole.
Down the rode a few months, those golf course owners and many more, in Barrie and the surrounding area, were invited to attend a Golf Stakeholder Meeting to discuss exactly what the original owners had talked about back in July. To say that ideas and concepts were well received is an understatement. Owners left the meeting committed to growing the game through the Golf in Schools initiative as well as buy in for the new Building Golf Communities initiative GOLF BARRIE.
Golf Ontario's Story
It all began when, Executive Director of Golf Ontario, Mike Kelly started a dialogue at Hockley Valley Resort asking the table, "If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?”. Mike came away from that meeting with the ideas running
Following that meeting and after an abundance of research on how other golf and other sport association around the world have been successful in rebuilding their participation from the bottom up, the idea of Building Golf Communities was born.
The concept behind Building Golf Communities is modelled after Tennis Canada’s Building Tennis Communities, that being to bring more people into the game of golf and to keep them playing for life — facilitating growth and sustainability. The concept is based on three key factors:
- Community Champions: a person or group who are passionate about golf and well connected to other community leaders (e.g. youth group leaders, town/city counselors, health professionals, police, local businesspeople etc.) in his/her city or town.
- Community Partners: community leaders that have been identified by the Community Champion as people or businesses who are important to maintaining the health of golf in the community.
- Community Golf Pathway: consists of four components on a continuum: Try, Learn, Play and Compete. Each of these components can be put into action through various programs and activities depending upon community needs.
Golf Barrie hosted a Building Golf Communities Inaugural Summit were they invited owners from Barrie and the surrounding area but as well as golf industry leaders. Representatives from 20 different facilities were in attendance as well as golf volunteers, golf media, tour event organizers and 6 different industry associations: OGSA, CGSA, GO, Golf Canada, Ontario PGA, and the NGCOA.
And so the first Golf Community was under way.