While some may be lamenting the future of the golf industry, Jon Last, President of Sports & Leisure Research Group sounded absolutely bullish on the industry’s future.

“There are those in the media who look at the industry with gloom and doom,” said Last at the International Network of Golf at the 24th Annual Spring Conference in Atlantic City NJ. “I see it as an opportunity, but the approach by the industry has to be adaptive. The market shift has to be identified.”

Last then outlined a 12-point program that was based on how the industry identifies and treats its customers.

“Golf facilities are going to have to make golfers feel that they are coming home when the visit the facility,” he said. “Private clubs have to train their staffs be more of a concierge. They have to create a community for the members and provide more services for their members. It appears that more private clubs are doing this as they’ve stemmed the tide that showed large drop offs in membership and are starting to grow once again.”

Last was quick to say that novel ideas such as the 15-inch hole are not the answer.

“These aren’t the answers,” he said. “Golfers embrace the challenge of the game. It’s part of the golf experience that draws them to it.”

Last also talked about an area where the industry as a whole has to be more diligent.

“The industry doesn’t do enough to draw women” he said. “Everyone has to be more aware of what women want their golf experience to be and supply it.”