The impact of the pandemic has been painful and devastating for Mie Golf Tourism´s ambitious international strategy. “Unfortunately, we can´t change the current circumstances, but we can control the way we respond to them”, says Ms. Suzuki Shizuho, who has been managing Mie Golf Tourism Organization (MGTO) since July 2015. In collaboration with three select golf courses, promoted by local TV, and subsidized by the National Sports Authority, the first Beginners´ Golf Days were launched.
The approach was rather unconventional in traditional Japan. The disruptive free initiative targeted Senior ladies, as they are mobile and have both time and financial resources to pick up golf. In addition, Japanese ladies are energetic and open-minded for new things by nature. “Learn this Healthy Sport, Make Friends and Enjoy the Beauty of a Golf Course” was not just the motto of the initiative. Its spirit and mantra were taken seriously on each of the six one-day programs. 50+ Beginners in groups of max 6, were not only taught the basics of golf, but had the chance to tee-it up and experience part of the perfectly manicured golf course.
96% of all participants responded to MGTO´s Survey on their intense full-day golf experience at the end of the day and a whopping 100% of participants were fully satisfied with the Beginner´s Golf Day. 91% stated that they would certainly continue to play golf, the remaining 9% indicated a strong probability to pick-up the game.
The general feedback and comments were positive and inspiring as well: “I always thought that golf had a high threshold, but today´s experience has changed my mind”. Another lady in her 50s touted a similar horn” This golf day has changed the image of golf for me; anyone can do it and it is so much fun”. Most participants shared that they loved to walk on the course right away, which made it easier for them to anticipate and feel the fun and excitement of the game. A few common concerns were raised about lack of time in the Post Covid-19 Era and the difficulty of golf, but the overall enthusiasm was truly infectious.
As a result of this positive and successful campaign, MGTO is considering moving this project to the next level with the objectives to grow the game of golf, to energize the golf industry in Mie and to attract a new segment of visitors from outside the prefecture to fuel the regional economy.
We will keep you informed about our next golf initiative.