Golfer Experience Takes Centre Stage at Innovation Symposium

Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: The United States Golf Association (USGA) will host speakers from 10 countries at the 5th Golf Innovation Symposium, in partnership with Cisco, the official technology partner of the USGA.

Representing national federations, facility management, golf course architecture, academia and private industry, the presenters will gather at the Tokyo Hilton on March 12-13 to share ideas for strengthening the foundation of the game around the world.

Japan Golf Association Chairman Tsunetada Takeda will open the symposium by welcoming delegates to Japan, and USGA Chief Executive Officer Mike Davis will present a vision for how the game of golf can come together to tackle the challenges facing golf facilities around the world.

Rand Jerris, USGA Senior Managing Director, Public Services. Picture by USGA/John Mummert

Rand Jerris, the USGA’s Senior Managing Director, Public Services, will reaffirm the imperative of the USGA’s challenge statement – to reduce golf’s consumption of key resources by 25 per cent, and improve golfer satisfaction by 20 per cent, by 2025, as well as the organisation’s commitment to lead golf toward a more sustainable future.

“The USGA recognises that golf facilities are on an untenable trajectory due to rising course maintenance costs and declining participation, caused by decreasing golfer satisfaction,” said Jerris. “The symposium will address those needs and discuss opportunities to reverse these trends and help the game thrive.”    

The symposium will consist of three half-day sessions, each addressing a key theme:

  • Improving Facility Productivity (March 12, afternoon)
  • Enhancing Golfer Experience and Participation (March 13, morning)
  • Urban Golf Opportunities (March 13, afternoon)

The first session will deliver insights, resources and case studies that will help facility managers use data and information to make decisions that improve their efficiency and productivity. Proposed topics include a study of the finances and operation of golf facilities, course renovations, alternative energy sources and pace of play.

The second session will offer research, tools and programmes that better engage golfers and provide them with an experience that meets their needs and expectations. Among them are the unveiling of research identifying the factors that have the greatest impact on golfer satisfaction and the use of technology to enhance the experiences of players at national championships. 

The final session will foster discussion about the on-going worldwide population shift toward cities and its potential impact on golf. As more and more people live farther and farther away from golf courses, speakers will focus on areas such as land use, short courses and simulators to engage golfers and promote participation.

“In Japan, as in the rest of the world, we need to think about golf as both a game and a business in new ways to prepare for the future,” said symposium speaker Nobuya ‘Mike’ Ishizaka, CEO of Golf Digest Online, Japan’s largest multi-service golf company. “We strongly believe that golf has the power to connect people, and it’s exciting to be part of an event that is bringing together speakers and delegates from around the world to inspire, challenge and even disrupt the golf industry.”

In addition to leading one of the sessions on March 12, Ishizaka will take part in a panel discussion moderated by filmmaker and media personality Erik Anders Lang, who will debut several short videos he created for the symposium.

Lang will also serve as the emcee of the symposium alongside Japanese media personality Keiko Iwase.

All the sessions from the symposium will be streamed live in both English and Japanese.

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