At the 99th PGA Annual Meeting at PGA National Resort & Spa in November, it was publicized that
“The PGA of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) announce a partnership to form Golf USA Tee Time Coalition, which will provide education for golf course owners, operators and PGA members and serve as an industry monitor for compliance of third-party online tee time providers.”
What impact do you think this coalition will have? I have my doubts. Here is why.
The press released continued, “The Golf USA Tee Time Coalition will fund a dedicated Compliance Officer based in NGCOA headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina; will feature an Advisory Council with representatives from supporting tee time companies, and will educate golf industry leaders about its mission strategy; and educate the public about the value of the golf industry and particularly, the online tee time sector of the golf industry.”
The foundation on which the guidelines were developed largely without the input of individual golf course owners, supporting tee times companies or the PGA.
The guidelines were developed by the head of a large management company and the former NGCOA Executive Committee Michael Hughes. Though a committee was formed of NGCOA members to participate in this process, their role was very limited despite their pleas for more active involvement.
The only tee time company that was involved in the formation of the guidelines was Golfnow. EZ Links and Golf18 (Course Trends), though they issued the perfunctory letter to be read at the PGA Annual Meeting, were essentially excluded from the discussions.
The PGA of America’s Jeff Price, Chief Commercial Officer, only became actively involved in the process near the conclusion.
Thus, the following questions remain to be answered:
– Even if a tee time company violates the guidelines, what meaningful sanction or fine can be implemented? GolfNow continues to thrive despite having been the pariah of the industry for years.