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Here are the 18 People Changing the Business of Golf

Golf Inc. Magazine has named SLRG President Jon Last to its list of the most innovative people in the golf business.

Stereotypes: All golfers are rich white guys who dress very funny on the golf course. Plus they cheat when it comes to their scores. And research marketers? Why, they are geeky, number-driven, bland and prone to put you to sleep when it comes to their presentations.

Not true, of course. Only some golfers cheat on their scores.

And Jon Last, founder and president of Sports and Leisure Research Group in White Plains, N.Y., is anything but bland. (Geeky? Well)

He’s funny, down-to-earth and scary spot-on.

An innovator? You bet.

Arguably, no one has a better pulse on golfing trends thanks to his education and experience in working within the game.

“I feel I’m one of the few people in the field who has classical training in both business and research. I’m able to look at an issue at multiple level,” he said.

And he’s able to communicate his findings in a compelling and entertaining fashion.

“I like to think I can tell stories without getting into jargon,” he said.

Among other things, market researchers provide their customers with key information about consumer habits and trends. Last is coveted by those in the golf industry because of his broad experience in the game, including a stint with the PGA as a researcher.

Plus he has a love of the game and understands its traditions and how the community values them.

Yes, times have been tough for the industry, but Last believes in offering suggestions for change from a positive angle.

“I always like to say that research is like a lamppost”, he said. “It can offer support and illumination. The best use both.”