ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Business Leaders Join NGF Board

Topgolf’s Geoff Cottrill (left), PGA of America’s Craig Kessler (centre), and The Toro Company’s Edric Funk (right) have been added to the NGF Board of Directors.

Jupiter, Florida, United States: The National Golf Foundation (NGF) has added PGA of America Chief Operating Officer Craig Kessler, Topgolf Chief Brand Officer Geoff Cottrill, and The Toro Company’s Vice President of Golf, Grounds and Irrigation Edric Funk to its Board of Directors that spans the spectrum of the golf business.

The appointments took effect at the start of the year.

“Edric, Craig and Geoff will bring fresh and welcome perspectives to the stellar group of leaders already on the NGF Board,” said NGF President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Nathan, who also joined the Board in ascending to the CEO role at the start of 2024.

“We’re so fortunate to have these individuals as NGF’s business advisors and counsellors, and they are doing their industry a great service by representing the interests of the business categories in which their organisations operate,” added Nathan.

Kessler took over as the PGA of America’s COO in 2023, having previously served as COO and Head of Emerging Concepts at Topgolf from 2016 to 2021.

After getting his Harvard Business School MBA, he started his professional career with the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, then became an operating partner at two private equity firms before moving to Topgolf. He also was the CEO of the experiential retail company Buff City Soap prior to joining the PGA of America.

Cottrill, who joined Topgolf in 2021, is responsible for all aspects of global marketing, including brand positioning strategies, communications, advertising, media, creative, player insights, game development, partnerships and charitable giving efforts.

He established a reputation for innovative thinking and creativity in previous roles as Head of Marketing for Coca-Cola North America and Chief Marketing Officer for Converse.

Cottrill, who has also held senior marketing positions at Starbucks and Procter & Gamble, was recognised in 2022 on the Forbes ‘Entrepreneurial CMO’ list and in 2023 as Ad Age’s ‘Breakout Brand Leader’.

Cottrill becomes the first industry leader on the NGF Board from a company focused on the flourishing off-course, golf entertainment sector. 

Funk is responsible for the overall strategic direction of The Toro Company’s Golf and Grounds Equipment and Irrigation businesses, which include the Toro, Ventrac, Irritrol and Unique Lighting Systems brands.

He has been with The Toro Company since 1996, having started as a design engineer in Toro’s Landscape Contractor Business. Funk has held several leadership positions across the company including General Manager of Toro’s Sitework Systems Business, Director of The Toro Company’s Centre for Technology, Research and Innovation (CTRI), and Director of Global Product Management for Commercial and International.

Other members of the NGF Board of Directors are Nathan, PING President and CEO John K. Solheim, Ahead CEO Anne Broholm, GOLFTEC President and CEO Joe Assell (Secretary Treasurer), Troon Golf President Tim Schantz (Vice Chairman), TMRW Sports Founder and CEO Mike McCarley, and former NGF President and CEO Joe Beditz, who transitioned to Executive Chairman at the start of 2024 after nearly four decades leading the organisation.

Departing the NGF Board of Directors at the end of 2023 following a combined 19 years of service were Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam, retired Toro executive Brad Hamilton, and long-time PGA Tour Superstore CEO Dick Sullivan, who chaired the Board from 2019 to 2021.

*The PGA of America, The Toro Company and Troon are all Executive Members of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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