G4 Golf Summit Showcases Future

Experts address diversity, inclusion and how to attract Millenials to golf

Billed as a “Coming Together of the Golf Industry,” the G4 Summit yesterday attracted 300 people to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

The program—convened by the PGA Colorado Section, Colorado Men’s and Women’s Golf Associations, Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association and Mile High Club Managers Association—included addresses from Hunki Yun, the USGA Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Sandy Cross, the PGA of America Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion. CEO Pete Bevacqua of the PGA of America delivered the keynote address.


Yun’s talk on pace of play raised the issue of “slow versus flow” by comparing two rounds of comparable length, but players considered the quicker round “slow” because of backups. By improving on “cycle times”—or gaps between groups—he reported the average round time appreciably decreased.

An interesting stat: the cycle times on par 3s increase with the hole’s yardage, while those on par 4s are longest at 375 yards, when the average player thinks he or she has a shot at reaching the green but often doesn’t. The bottlenecks on shorter and longer par 4s are not as lengthy.

Yun also described how the mismatched cycle times between the reachable par-5 sixth and short, iconic par-3 seventh holes at Pebble Beach led to backups on the seventh. The cycle on the sixth was much shorter than the seventh, so the course lengthened the sixth hole to eliminate the bottlenecks.

Based on ongoing studies utilizing flagstick monitoring technology and wearable GPS, the USGA has made recommendations to golf course architects, as well as course owners and PGA Professionals on ways to rid the game of this scourge.


Golf spans four generations, according to Cross, each with its own codes and influences. There are Traditionalists, Boomers, GenXers and Millennials.  “It’s not personal; it’s generational,” she said of trying to appeal to all of them.

The biggest challenge is bringing in those born between 1980 and 1999. These digitally savvy, multicultural and confident Millennials thrive on inclusion, tolerance and immediate gratification—qualities not traditionally associated with golf.

Courses need to give these individuals—whose participation in the game has dropped by almost 10 percent over the last few years—the opportunity to “shape content” through social media and programming. Courses have to create a welcoming environment.

“They don’t like the word club,” she said. “It’s not inclusive.”“Language is culture,” she said. 

She also cautioned against “unconscious bias” that comes with terms like “ladies tees.” Basing teeing areas on gender rather that on ability is “deeply flawed,” she said, “It’s denigrating and not welcoming.” 


Bevacqua energized those in attendance by describing how over the past 27 months he has overhauled the PGA of America, which, he says, is about far more than just putting on the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup.

“Growing the game and serving members are the two pillars of our mission,” he said. 

To achieve this, Bevacqua came up with a strategic plan defined by the pursuit of excellence and commitment to innovation, collaboration, teamwork and talent. With a background that includes working for the USGA, Bevacqua naturally sees the importance of collaborating with other golf organizations, as well as the benefits of inclusion and having an international footprint.

He pointed to the election of Suzy Whaley as the PGA of America’s first national female officer and the new KMPG Women’s PGA Championship as major advances. He holds regular conference calls with representatives of all 41 PGA Sections for ideas and input.

He also detailed the PGA’s involvement in initiatives such as PGA REACH, PGA HOPE, Get Golf Ready, PGA Junior League and the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship.


After lunch, the above individuals joined J.D. Dockstadler, the Chief Business Development Officer of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, on a panel discussion led by Jim Keegan of Golf Convergence.

They covered a wide range of topics, including the merits of alternative golf activities (footgolf), modifications (18-inch holes), and bifurcation of the Rules of Golf into “lite” and “official” versions.

The articulate, thoughtful discussions on these topics—as well as those on diversity and inclusion—gave hope that the future of golf is brighter than ever.

As Cross said, “You have to think outside your tribe.”


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Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.comJon Rizzi is the founding editor and co-owner of this regional golf-related media company producing magazines, web content, tournaments, events and the Golf Passport.