Golf News for Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Growth Of The Game

Play Golf America announces record-setting numbers for 2006

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Play Golf America has shattered its 2005 total numbers and has outdriven the course it set for 2006. PGA Professionals, golf facilities and, most importantly, consumers have participated in Play Golf America programs at record levels during 2006.

With a record number of 6,725 facilities serving as host sites for Play Golf America programs, preliminary numbers indicate there were a record 935,281 participants in group lessons at these facilities, and a record 5.2 million total participants in organized play related to Play Golf America, announced Roger Warren, president of The PGA of America. In 2005, there were 6,018 facilities serving as host sites for Play Golf America programs with more than 556,000 participants in group lessons and 4.9 million total participants.

“We knew that Play Golf America programs could have a measurable impact on the industry and these record-setting numbers are an indication that our PGA Professionals and allied partners are dedicated to continue growing the game,” Warren said. “We are very pleased that Play Golf America continues to be embraced by both consumers and the industry and look forward to another successful year in 2007.”

In 2006, Play Golf America also had another strong year in terms of reaching consumers through public relations, advertising and promotions. During 2006, more than 1.5 billion impressions with a value of over $17 million were made on consumers, bringing the total to nearly 4 billion since the program launched in 2004, with a total cumulative value of more than $56 million.

2006 Play Golf America Program Highlights and Record-Setting Numbers Follow:

Play Golf America Web Site:
• The Play Golf America Web site has already exceeded its total traffic for all of 2005, including a 95.3 percent increase in traffic for June versus the same month in 2005. There have been nearly one million page views in 2006 and, through September, there were 482,676 unique visitors to the site, an increase of 63 percent over the same period of 2005. During May (PGA Free Lesson Month), there were over 111,406 unique visitors to the site, a 54.8 percent increase from May 2005.
• A total of 1,459 facilities have posted Play Golf America events on the Web site through August, a 105 percent increase over last year’s 710 facilities.
• More than 6,800 Play Golf America events have been posted on the Web site so far this year compared to last year’s total of 4,734, a 44 percent increase.

Play Golf America Days:
• The PGA of America expanded its free-to-consumer Play Golf America Days to 39 PGA Sections nationwide.
• There were 49 Play Golf America Days scheduled this year (12 in 2005) and, to date, 17,225 consumers attended the events which more than doubled last year’s total of 7,500 (a 130 percent increase), including more than 1,300 in Utah and 1,200 in Northern California. Thirty-six percent of consumers were new or former golfers and 25 percent were women.
• Over 900 PGA Professionals, an average of 20 per event, were on hand to give instruction.
• Play Golf America special events were held at the Senior PGA Championship Play Golf America Days, the PGA Championship Play Golf America Days, PGA Championship in the Park by Buick, the Smuckers Family Golf Fest at the Westfield Junior PGA Championship, Special Olympics U.S. National Games and the Down Syndrome National Congress. These special events provided Play Golf America exposure to more than 15,000 consumers.

Free Fitting & Trade Up Month (April):
• In its inaugural year, 2,739 PGA Professionals across the country provided free 15-minute expert equipment fitting sessions assisting 31,668 consumers in finding the appropriate equipment to help them improve their game during PGA Free Fitting & Trade Up Month. Ten percent of the fitting sessions were to new golfers, 40 percent were to new customers and 76 percent turned into more in-depth fitting sessions.
• The PGA of America teamed with Golf Digest, the PGA Trade-In Network and the PGA.com Value Guide to sponsor this equipment-themed consumer promotion during the month of April at golf facilities around the country.

PGA Free Lesson Month (May):
• A record of 7,485 PGA Professionals (8.7 percent increase) participated in PGA Free Lesson Month at a record 5,880 facilities (5.5 percent increase) nationwide.
• Over 147,000 consumers participated in PGA Free Lesson Month, a 21 percent increase from 2005. Of the 147,332 free lessons given, 23 percent of participating golfers were new or beginners; 55 percent were to new customers; 31 percent were women and new data found 11 percent of the PGA Professionals gave lessons to individuals with disabilities.
• Golf Digest Publications, with a combined audience of more than nine million readers, once again partnered for the ninth consecutive year with The PGA of America to promote PGA Free Lesson Month (since the campaign’s inception). The Golf Channel completed its fourth year as a partner communicating the PGA Free Lesson Month message to almost 70 million viewers. Nike Golf, also in its fourth year with the program, supplied prizes for the sweepstakes.
American Express™ Women’s Golf Week presented by Golf For Women Magazine (June 3-10, 2006):
• A record 585 golf facilities across the country hosted American Express™ Women’s Golf Week, which more than doubled last year’s total (160 percent increase).
• 24,570 women participated throughout the week, which is a 159 percent increase from 2005. 52 percent of the participants were new golfers. The inaugural event was held in 2005 with 9,500 women participating at 225 host facilities.
• Joining title sponsor American Express were Golf For Women magazine, Cobra Golf, Lady Fairway, Golfsmith and Nike Golf.

Take Your Daughter to the Course Week (July 10-16, 2006):
• 2006 was the first year the program was promoted under the Play Golf America marketing umbrella, and the seventh year overall. A total of 1,242 facilities hosted Take Your Daughter to the Course Week, a 16.8 percent increase, with 74,490 consumers participating, a 16 percent increase from 2005. Thirty-two percent of the participants were new customers.

GOLF: A Family Vacation for a Day:
• A total of 120 golf facilities nationwide offered family programs under The PGA of America’s Play Golf America pilot promotion GOLF: A Family Vacation for a Day throughout the summer. These programs provide a structured, yet casual opportunity for families to learn and play the game of golf together and promote golf as a regular family recreation activity for all participants.

Other Play Golf America Highlights:
• More than 250 PGA Professionals attended the first ever Play Golf America Conference at the PGA Merchandise Show in January where player development “best practices” were shared.
• A new search tool on www.playgolfamerica.com was developed for disabled golfers to connect them with PGA Professionals who have experience providing instruction to those with disabilities.
• The Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) continues to be a core program supported under the Play Golf America umbrella. In 2006, a total of 82 EWGA chapters posted 554 different events on www.playgolfamerica.com.
In 2006, Play Golf America focused on building upon successful programs like PGA Free Lesson Month, American Express Women’s Golf Week and Play Golf America Days while adding new ones such as the National Golf Course Owners Association’s “Take Your Daughter to the Course Week”, PGA Free Fitting & Trade Up Month and the pilot promotion GOLF: A Family Vacation for a Day. In addition, the www.playgolfamerica.com site was revamped to include more in depth content to promote the game of golf.

Play Golf America, designed to increase participation among new and occasional adult golfers, was launched in 2004 by The PGA of America, with the support of Allied Associations including: the LPGA, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA Tour, USGA and others involved in the annual Golf 20/20 Conference. The program utilizes the www.playgolfamerica.com Web site to serve as a link for consumers to access fun, affordable and informative programs in their area.

Celebrating its 90th anniversary, The PGA of America was founded in 1916, and is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf, while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.