Business Lessons From The Golfing World

Golf is often a topic of conversation here at Collingwood, and as keen golfers ourselves, we are looking forward to the summer golf majors in the coming weeks.

I was lucky enough to grow up watching the phenomenal rise (and the proceeding fall) of Tiger Woods. And whilst Tiger continues to get a lot of the limelight, even after shooting a career-high round of 85 it is evident that golf needs to move on and stop referring to its past highs.

Whilst the future does look strong with the likes of Rory McIlroy and the emergence of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler the golfing world now must now ensure it capitalises on these commercial assets and gets the most out of this talent. It must continue to adapt to retain its commercial appeal in order to attract future talent.

So how can the golfing world go about this? Reflecting on this I believe there is a lot of similarities that the business world can learn from the current state of golf:

Marketing Spend and Brand Development

Nike has rebranded themselves to appeal to the next generation. Is this something that your business is setting out to achieve? How are you going to appeal to your future customers and attract new business?

An example of this is evident in the golf market by Nike’s $100m backing of Rory McIlroy. Nike are now moving their focus away from Tiger and using them together to promote their products. This is evident in their latest TV advert with Tiger and Rory.

Opening New Markets

Is your business focusing on untapped markets? Luxury consumer brands, such as Bentley and Burberry, are now seeing the strongest sales growth in these regions, appealing to the world’s new middle and upper-class markets. What markets can you look to for future growth?

Golf too is a very much untapped market in China and the Far East. This has been identified and focus to drive participation in the sport in the region has started. The emergence of new tour events in the Far East, new marketing focus as well as new golf resorts appearing in the region. This was evident to myself on a recent holiday to Vietnam of all places!

Innovation and Adapting Your Product

Does your business need to adapt its product to appeal to new markets or customers? What innovative ideas and marketing messages are you creating to appeal to these customers? Do you have the right talent in place to be innovative and drive change in your business? 

With a round of golf usually taking between 4 or 5 hours to complete and the average family having less free time, it has been identified that golf needs to change its format to appeal to new markets. Strong innovation to create new shorter formats and ways of playing the sport must be found to ensure the downward trend in participation does not continue. 

Succession Planning

Does your business have a succession plan in place in order to bring future leaders to the business? Do you have the resource and skills needed to open up new markets, develop new marketing plans and drive innovation and change through the business? Also, does your business have an attractive and appealing working culture to attract new talent? Are you creating a strong employer brand?

Golf seems to be in safe hands with the emergence of some new superstars with huge market appeal. A lot of these golfers also grew up watching Tiger win his 14 majors and are driven to emulate his success. The sport had huge ‘pull factor’ and appeal to them during that time.

With all the above in mind, here are a few of Collingwood’s latest blogs that also address some of the points:

Employer Branding – What Is It All About?

Collingwood Blog – A Great Company Culture is Key to Attracting Great Talent

Here’s to an exciting golfing summer ahead. I hope you’ll enjoy watching it unfold as much as I will.