Reflections from the 2018 Players 1st Conference: Part 2
A paradigm shift
Following the conference we talked to Lodewijk Klootwijk, General Secretary of the European Golf Course Owners Association.
The conference improved Lodewijk’s idea of what he already knew about the current trends in golf, and he emphasizes the importance of more and better connection between countries. “You are bringing people together and that is the real strength of the conference to me,” he says, adding that “at conferences such as this, you realize that we are all in the same boat, and that we have a lot to learn from each other.”
Presently, there is a major international paradigm shift happening in the golf industry, perhaps the most important shift in the last 100 to 200 years, explains Lodewijk. Traditional strategies for advancing the game tend to give priority to the technical aspects of the game, better swing, better courses; a tendency which has left the game increasingly inaccessible to the uninitiated. Now, says Lodewijk, focus is shifting to the players.
“Finally it’s the players in the centre,” says Lodewijk, “the timing of Players 1st is excellent. It fits right in with where we are with golf at the moment. I cannot imagine golf without Players 1st or a tool like it - it should be about the players!”
The Players 1st Tournament
The conference culminated on the third day with the highly anticipated Players 1st Tournament where participants squared off to seize the day. The Swedish champions, having otherwise run a tight ship at the conference, slipped in the final moments and the Players 1st team swooped in to grab the win.
Lodewijk played well out on the Barsebäck course and, despite his loss to Jacob Buksted, he is delighted in his own part in the “Beat the Swedes Competition.” “Jacob beat me, and I beat one of the Swedes,” says Lodewijk cheerfully, “I helped out a lot and I’m happy the team of Players 1st won!”
Until next year
The innovative projects that were presented at this year’s conference reflect how attitudes and approaches in the global golf industry are shifting towards a more player-centric point of view - what Lodewijk describes as perhaps the most important paradigm shift in over a century - and we are eager to see how these initiatives will play out in the future.
Preparations for the 2019 Players 1st Conference are already underway. We look forward to it!