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Australian Golf seeks Independent Report
A recently concluded Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) Forum at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast has provided hope for the Australian Golf industry to collectively work towards unity.
The resounding theme for the conference was an industry made up of too many components for it to effectively achieve a common goal. It would take until the final 10 minutes of the forum for what many felt was the most important achievement of the two day talk-fest to emerge.
In his concluding remarks to the 120 industry heavyweights who attended as delegates, the Australian Golf Industry Council Chair, Max Garske, sought comments from the floor as to its thoughts on the direction of the AGIC. Two responses in particular would lead to a show of hands for an initiative which could potentially change the face of Australian Golf.
Martin Wright of Srixon and Jonathan Crisp, who currently sits on the board of the Australian Tour, both spoke about the need for a strong push to unify the Australian golf industry. Crisp used a graphic that had been displayed during the panel on junior golf the previous day highlighting the massive number of administrative bodies involved in that area of the game alone.
It was Wright's opinion, supported by an impassioned address by Crisp, that if something wasn't done to form a united body, then the game in Australia would continue to tread water.
A show of hands was sought in response to the proposition by Garske that the AGIC approach the federal government with a view to funding an independent report on the industry, the findings of which would be used as a means of establishing the future direction for the game. In an almost unanimous response, it was determined that such an approach be made.
The keynote speech by the Richard Marles, Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry, representing the Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis, included an indication of the government's position on golf presenting a united front if it was to be an effective body.
Marles had played a key role in facilitating the successful visit by an AGIC delegation to Canberra in June. He further confirmed the importance of an even more united approach if the industry was to effectively lobby for ongoing governmental support.
The next day-and-a-half included panel discussions involving junior and women's golf and the golf media, along with presentations on the environment, climate change and its impact on golf, golf course architecture, industry research data, issues facing the club industry, brand-name protection and counterfeiting issues, golf tourism and tournament golf.
The wide-ranging information presented by the speakers was first-class and invaluable, but as delegates left the building following the show of hands, the groundswell of opinion recognized that something even more significant had been achieved.
Who will eventually benefit or lose from such an independent report, if indeed it is commissioned and its recommendations implemented, is for the future. But there was a general feeling that most believed more was achieved by the decision to commission a report and try to move forward than in years of talking about it.
The Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) was established in late 2006 to provide a forum to help unite the industry on agreed industry wide initiatives. The AGIC has continued to operate as an unincorporated not for profit partnership between the key industry administrations and membership organisations - Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association (AGCSA), Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG), Australian Sporting Goods Association (representing golf equipment suppliers & manufacturers) - ASGA, Golf Australia (GA), Golf Management Australia (GMA), PGA of Australia (PGA), Society of Australian Golf Course Architects (SAGCA), and golf and real estate development. Individual experts from the industry have also been invited to participate in the activities of the AGIC.