American Golf Census to Help Golf Businesses Grow

American Golf Census to Help Golf Businesses Grow

More than 27 million Americans play nearly 500 million rounds each year. Golf’s economic impact is huge, as the industry provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes billions of dollars annually to the nation’s economy and charities.

Knowing the most information about these golfers is important for golf organizations of all pursuits and sizes. That’s the purpose of the American Golf Census being conducted by the National Golf Foundation (NGF), a not-for-profit association established in 1936.

If you play golf, NGF is encouraging you to take part in the census. Those who do will be automatically eligible to win some spectacular golf prizes from once in a lifetime trips to Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, to thousands of equipment prizes from TaylorMade, Callaway, and Nike.

Image Beditz-sgf (3)We talked with NGF CEO & President Dr. Joe Beditz about this important initiative.

What’s the purpose of the American Golf Census?

The purpose of the census is to build a bigger and better database of golfers than has ever existed to:

– Be able to let policymakers know just how geographically and demographically broad the golf constituency really is.

– Help golf courses and other consumer-focused golf businesses grow and enhance their own databases, and at the same time support the building of an unprecedented national database.

How does the Census work?

It’s simple.  A golf course or other business adds a link to the census on their website.  As their website visitors register with the census, we provide the golf course with the list of golfers and their complete information.  To generate an even bigger list with more information, these same golf courses send out an email to their current list inviting them to go to the their website and register with the census.  When each golfer registers, he / she is allowed (and incentivized) to refer up to five of their friends to the census website … and those referrals are also given to the golf course!  On top of this, we match every golfer they send to the census with another one.  So, we double their list.

How will a golf organization value the Census?

Just about every golf business I talk to tells me it would like to grow its database.  And most of these businesses only know and are able to communicate with a fraction of the people who visit their websites.  The census offers all of those anonymous website visitors a powerful incentive to register –- the largest sweepstakes ever in golf.  That’s strong.

So, golf courses and other businesses are using the census to collect contact information on many more of their customers than they currently have in their database.  And they are also using the census to gather additional information – like age, gender, rounds played and average score – because every golfer who registers for the census provides that information.  Businesses are sending emails to their current customer list inviting them to register with the census.  And their customers are thanking them for turning them on to the sweepstakes!

How did this important idea originate?

This idea originated because many of our members have asked us to help them either:  1) build their databases directly; and/or 2) access other databases to which they can use to communicate their messages.  We’ve helped them with both of these things.  But in helping them with #2, we’ve learned the golfer databases that are out there are often incomplete, inaccurate and/or inaccessible.  And we decided that, with the help of thousands of golf businesses, we could do a much better job.

When do you expect the Census to be completed?

Image AGC_LOGO-sgf (3)The census will be an ongoing initiative of the NGF.  In time, we hope to gain the support and participation of the majority of golf courses and other businesses.  We have a vision of a Database of American Golfers that all golf businesses can readily and affordably access.  But at the same time we take golfer privacy very seriously: Every golfer who registers with us will be able to “opt out’’ of any future communication. And all of our partners in the census have to agree to abide by the same email best practices guidelines, and all applicable laws.  But you know what … most golfers who have registered so far have opted IN, not out. So that’s it.  It’s simple.  It’s needed.  And it’s getting done.

How and when will golf organizations be able to use Census information?

Participating organizations – those which post a link to the census on their website and/or send out an email to their current database – will begin receiving their census registrant information right away, and they will have first and priority access to the overall list. For other, non-participating organizations, the national list will not be accessible until at least early next year, perhaps longer. This is because we see our first responsibility to those organizations participating and helping build the overall census database.

For more information about NGF or the census, go to www.NGF.org; or send an email to census@NGF.org.

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