Yale SOM Golf Summit Explores the Future of the Golfing Industry
Earlier this spring, a group of Yale alumni, students, and faculty joined Yale SOM Dean Edward A. Snyder and golf industry leaders in a forum that explored the future of the business and ways to increase the sport's popularity and accessibility.
A total of 36 golf enthusiasts participated in the Yale SOM Golf Summit from May 10 to 13 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon. It was the first event organized by the Golf, Business, and Society Club, a newly formed Yale SOM student organization.
In addition to time on the links, the event featured group discussions on topics including golf technology and globalization of the sport, as well as a design workshop exploring how to make the game more accessible and popular. Participants also discussed one of Yale SOM's innovative online "raw" case studies. The case, researched and written by Yale SOM students and the Yale SOM Case Study Research and Development department, examined The First Tee, a nonprofit managed by the World Golf Foundation.
Caitlin Sullivan '13 introduced the case and explained how raw cases—interactive studies that aim to capture the complexity of real-life decision-making in the business world—fit into the Yale SOM core curriculum, which trains students to understand the broad context of business challenges. Will Goetzmann, the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies and director of the International Center for Finance, led the group in a guided discussion.
The First Tee case examines the transition of the nonprofit from an organization aimed at making golf facilities accessible to more children to one focused on teaching life skills through the game. "We examined how The First Tee has successfully changed course and evolved over time," said Nathaniel Hundt '13 after the event. "But perhaps what was most interesting was our discussion of how The First Tee, with its current youth development focus, can remain a significant player in the golf industry, while also taking aim at societal problems."
Participants offered insights and suggestions on the case study and on the other topics presented. "We really examined where the golf industry is now and where it's going," said Martin Blaquier '87, founder and executive chairman of the Argentine Gaming Group. "We are in the very early stages of expanding the game's development in Argentina, so the event was particularly informative for me."
Digraj Singh Marwah, founder of Digraj Golf in India, led the event's final discussion on globalization, focusing on the rise of golf in India and other countries where the sport has not traditionally had a foothold. "The summit has the potential to become the thought leader for progressive change for the golf industry, and it has the ingredients to do so," Marwah said.
"This weekend was not just about playing golf," attendee Anthony Webb '13 wrote on the Yale SOM Community Blog. "It was also about brainstorming and discussing innovative solutions whereby golf can be used as a tool to make the world a better place."