Longstanding CPG Member Country, the PGA of Italy, play a crucial role in growing and developing the game of golf in Italy, and will continue to do so during what is a hugely important period for Italian golf with the staging of the 2023 Ryder Cup in the country.
The CPG chatted to PGA of Italy Operations and Event Manager, Francesco Gatti, about the association and its current goals and driving motivations for the future of the sport in Italy…
CPG: What does the golf industry look like in Italy?
FG: Due to increasing cultural and competitive attractions and past times, golf in Italy is currently seeing periods of stagnation in the numbers of playing golfers across the country. This highlights some key points, most notably the need to utilise effective national programs and marketing strategies to invert this trend.
Currently, over 90,000 golfers are registered players across the country, enjoying and engaging in a diverse and large national product offering in the form of over 400 facilities and clubs (ranging from 9, 18, 36 hole venues, driving ranges and indoor facilities).
What is really exciting is the Italian golf prospects, particularly with the 2023 Ryder Cup matches being staged at Marco Simone in Rome. This, along with effective marketing activity from the PGA of Italy, will most certainly help reach an ever-growing audience and encourage access and participation across all levels of the game.
CPG: What about the PGA of Italy? What roles do they play in trying to develop and grow the game?
FG: As a representative body of Professional Golf and Professional golfers, the main objective of the PGA of Italy is to safeguard the rights and influences of its members – the PGA Professional.
Our main activities can be divided into three categories:
- Professional tournaments – We organise many golf tournaments, including Pro-Ams and Championships across the year in what is one of the most comprehensive schedules in Europe.
- Education – Like with tournaments, we also organise CPD and learning opportunities and events across the year. These come in the form of seminars, workshops and meetings.
- Promotion and Marketing – This is of the association and its activities, its members, and golf more broadly to the wider public.
CPG: What does the PGA of Italy Membership look like?
FG: In order to become a member of the PGA of Italy, its associates have to be either tournament players or teachers affiliated with the Italian Golf Federation.
We have three different programs available to our members. The basic level includes the main services, previously explained, without access to certain competitions. This is tailored for younger and assistant professionals, who recently joined the association.
The second program – the annuity membership, grants full rights to the members. The is tailored for professionals with at least 20 years of industry experience and / or are over 60 years of age.
Lastly, the honor program is for those professionals who no longer play golf and teaching, however stay members of the PGA of Italy as honorary members.
CPG: Why is being a part of the Confederation of Professional Golf important?
FG: As an internationally-natured association, the CPG is a vital political and institutional reference point for the PGA of Italy. It helps foster a globally-connected work environment for PGAI, which benefits us from the international networks and benefits it provides.
CPG: What direction do you see the association, and golf in Italy heading in over the next few years?
FG: The situation and association is an ever-changing, dynamic situation. We always strive to better ourselves in everything we do but I would say our main focus right now surrounds improving our marketing strategies and communication activities and so far this has been very positive. With the current situation surrounding COVID-19, our hope is that this won’t slow or impact our gains and progress too much.
CPG: Will the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone help the PGA and golf in Italy achieve its goals?
FG: Absolutely, I believe the Ryder cup would be an incredible opportunity for the PGA of Italy and for the growth of golf in Italy overall. We think the Ryder Cup would be able to engage with a much wider audience of people, and help make golf a more widely-known and easily-accessible sport for players and non-players alike.