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Campaign Launching To Promote Golf's Contributions and Benefits

Blog by Macali Communications

The World Golf Foundation is leading a golf industry coalition that is launching a campaign to promote the many positive contributions and benefits of the game and golf industry to the American economy, charities and the environment.

Stephen "Steve" F. Mona is the World Golf Foundation's chief executive officer (CEO).

Mona has established a strong career record of service to the golf industry in various leadership and managerial positions with such prestigious organizations as the Northern California Golf Association, United States Golf Association, the Georgia State Golf Association and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

In Mona's CEO position at the World Golf Foundation, his responsibilities include overall management of the Foundation, as well as overseeing the Foundation's industry relationships and ongoing global focus.

Steve obliged me with this first interview about this valuable campaign.   

1.   What is the specific mission of this initiative?
Our mission is to have golf known, understood and valued as an asset to our economy, a steward of the   environment and a positive force for society. Those are the specific outcomes we wish to accomplish.

2.   How will you measure success?
We will measure our success in a couple of ways. First, from a 30,000-foot level, we will measure balanced treatment of golf in a wide variety of media across the country. On a granular level, we will   measure the incremental increase in stories in media outlets, the increase in individual media members we reach and the tone and direction of those stories across all media platforms. That includes mainstream and social  media in television, radio, print (magazines and newspapers) and the Internet. We will be tracking stories in sports, business, lifestyle and environmental media. As we progress, we will evaluate what has been reported and communicate those results to the people who have invested in this program.

3.  What difficult obstacles do you face?
First, we must reach the people who have not been educated about the positives of the game and the industry of golf.

For example, there's an impression that golf courses are inaccessible. We know that 72% of golf courses are open to the public and that 78% of the rounds played in America are on public golf courses.
Second, there's the perception that golf is a closed society of the wealthy. That impression ignores the charity component of golf which specifically generates about $3.5 billion in annual charitable giving. 
Finally, there is the perception that the design, siting, building and maintenance of golf courses compromise the environment. The reality is that the nearly 16,000 U.S. golf courses provide valuable green spaces that actually benefit the environment in many cases. The courses' turfgrass filters runoff to control flooding; out-of-play areas offer wildlife habitat and green space has a cooling effect on surrounding property. These benefits are delivered with the minimal use of water, as golf courses account for only 1/2 of 1% of U.S. annual water consumption.

We need to tackle the divide between these perceptions and the realities.

4. How important will the role of PR be in this mission?
It is critical. We define PR as media relations, which is about identifying and building relationships with influential media. We believe our chosen agency, Golin Harris, has strong expertise and a stellar track record at the blocking and tackling that an effective media relations campaign requires. The Golin team knows and understands what media we wish to reach. We are confident that they can be an asset in telling our story and fostering balanced treatment of our sport and industry. That makes media relations central to the success of this campaign.

5.  When you have accomplished your goals what would you like to say? 
That key media know and understand: 1) the economic impact of golf - it provides 2 million total jobs and total wage income of $61 billion. It has a $76 billion direct annual economic impact and is larger than the motion picture and recording business; the performing arts and spectator sports; and the newspaper industry 2) The charitable impact of golf - the game donates $3.5 billion annually through approximately 150,000 tournaments with those funds going to a full-range of educational, family, health and community development charities 3) The environmental impact of golf - courses, when properly managed, are an environmentally sustainable land use.