PGAs of Europe

Futurist For a Day – Preparing for Change By Thinking Ahead

The first IGPN of the year is always a good opportunity to reflect on our Annual Congress, Gala Award winners, and International Team Championship, but also a chance to look ahead at the coming year.

During the Congress in December we took time to look back on the first 25 years of the PGAs of Europe as part of the anniversary celebrations, but we also took a prospective look forward.

So much has changed about the golfing landscape in the past 25 years – the Association has increased its membership from 13 countries to 37, in that time showing how golf has continued to spread across the continent – and so much has changed in the wider world as well. Think about the introduction of the Internet, email, social media, the ever-changing political situations across the planet, technological advancements around the world and more.

Futurists spend their time using what we know and where we have come from to work out where we might go next. So using some of the growth predictions and trends futurists have come up with, we put together our thoughts based on facts such as:

  • By 2028 62% of the global population will live in cities
  • Wearable technology will be controlled by thought and many jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence
  • In 2028 1 in 3 people will live beyond 100 years of age

Using just this tiny handful of statements we considered what effect they might have on the PGAs of Europe, its member PGAs and golf in general – after some thought and discussion even these few things would be game-changing.

And like any good futurist would do we posed some questions:

  • How would golf cope with such a high percentage of its players living in heavily populated areas? What facilities would need to exist? What would the effect be on existing facilities? (We also speculated that these could perhaps be solved in part by projects such as France’s 2018 short courses or through new forms of urban golf facilities)?
  • How can golf be prepared for advancements in technology and communications, and how can it be ready to embrace new technologies as and when they come along?
  • Golf is a sport for life and as such is an aging population a great opportunity for golf to grow? And how can the PGA Professional and golf in general take advantage of this?

Of course foretelling the future is not always that accurate but speculating with educated guesses is never a bad thing. Take the upcoming golf season and 2016’s Majors – how will golf’s new big-three of Rory, Jordan and Jason follow up on their successes of last season.

Much like the European Ryder Cup Team too then… A glance at each week’s leaderboard on the European Tour reveals so many candidates for Darren Clarke’s team it could drive you mad trying to pinpoint a team any time soon – especially with the likes of some exciting young Europeans like Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bernd Wiesberger, Andy Sullivan, Thomas Pieters to name but a few – which could result in the team looking very different to how it did at Gleneagles. The PGAs of Europe office has selected our picks for the team so we’ll reveal how close any of us were later in the year.

From all of us at the PGAs of Europe, best wishes for a happy and successful 2016!

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.