Golf Inc. Advisers of the Year

SLRG’s Jon Last has been named to Golf Inc.’s list of top industry advisors of the year, citing the Back to Normal Barometer and how the firm’s consumer research has informed the industry throughout the COVID 19 pandemic.

Advisers of the Year

The pandemic was a game changer. Owners and operators faced an array of challenges, some of which erupted overnight. But consultants were at the ready to help.

Golf courses owners and operators have dealt with all sorts of wrecking-ball-like challenges over the years, from hurricanes to droughts to wildfires to recessions.

Then came a wrecking ball the size of a molecule, but with a force like no other. When the world throws you that kind of a curveball, what do you do?

There is no howto manual or built-in strategy for golf course owners and operators to handle global contagion.

That’s why advisers and consultants were needed more than ever when COVID-19 began its run. These are people who are used to pivoting fast and coming up with creative solutions.

Yes, golf ultimately saw a boom in play because it offered a safe refuge from a weary, shelter-in-place world, but golf is only one part of the equation. Food & beverage took a hit because of indoor dining restrictions. Pro shops? Many were shuttered.

Golf operations had to be re-thought on the fly. Tee times had to be scheduled remotely. More thorough cleaning standards had to be implemented. Social distancing was required.

Given the array of challenges, Golf Inc. magazine thought it would be fitting to honor consultants who went above and beyond during one of golf ’s most pressing years. We asked readers for nominations and chose several who received significant praise for their work.

Jon Last, founder and president of Sports & Leisure Research Group (SLRG) 

Research is key to understanding golf and where it is heading. Last has provided key research for years, providing a host of businesses and associations, including Calloway Golf and the PGA of America, with powerful marketing insights.

One of the firm’s newest additions is the Back-to-Normal Barometer. Through surveys and other methods, the firm is looking to get an understanding of the state of the pandemic world and our return to a more routine, familiar lifestyle.

As one nominator put it: “Last is the best source for golf consumer insights. His annual briefing at the PGA Show is mustsee. In 2020, SLRG developed the Back-to-Normal Barometer, which has been the leading guide on pandemic impacts on our business. SLRG graciously made Barometer findings and updates available for free on their website, in newsletters and in briefings to give my clients cogent, strategic insights to base plans on.”