If you’ve joined us before in the business of golf, you know that we’ve been talking about how money is made and spent in the industry. We’ve spent a lot of time with industry leaders from leagues and organizations, as well as big brands. This episode, we’re going to get a little more grassroots and speak with Nick Conrad who’s going to talk with us about how you can get involved in golf at an amateur local level.
The following excerpt has been edited for space. You can find the rest of the episode here.
Alyson Johnson: Talk a little bit about what it means to be a member of Twilight golf. Cause I saw that you’re actually a USGA member club. So what does that mean?
Nick Conrad: Twilight Golf Association is a membership based club, which means that our golf association is 100% member funded and member run. We are a USGA member club as of last year in 2020. All that means is that in all of our leagues and outings we play by USGA rules. So USGA bylaws and guidelines govern every outing, so there is structure on the course.
We’re a national organization- I helped organize a handful of our groups. We’ve got all kinds of folks all over that essentially are bringing recreation, golf, to the people.
As you mentioned, I had made a career switch and just found myself going to my local courses after work. You see yourself playing with all different types of people, whether they’re older than you, younger than you, men, ladies, all different ability levels. And it got to a point that I realized it doesn’t really matter who you’re playing with, that most people can get along.
There’s a lot of common ground that can be found in this game. So that’s what really struck me about golf, and that’s why I jumped in feet first and I started asking a lot of what ifs, “what if there was a governing body that was organizing recreational golf leagues?”
Adam Grubb: What have the golf courses said to you, and how’s the reaction been? What’s the excitement been? And you talk about the long, I mean, we at Stick and Hack know that long tail of building a brand, community, and excitement around something new and innovative in the golf space.
Nick Conrad: [00:11:51] Yeah, I mean, for many of them it’s a way to fill their tee sheet. This year we’re obviously expanding, you’re seeing an uptake in popularity. There’s a lot of people here that we’d never seen, which I think is always great to hear. In many cases, we’re hearing, “Hey, we’ve got another night of the week open, can you do something there?” So for us, we’d love to have this two nights a week.
Like I mentioned before with our format, you’re playing your own ball, who doesn’t want to do that? Right. You get to play with a group and we’re running short-run seasons, which I think is also an approachable adjustment from what courses normally offer your average golf course.
Going back to that topic of engagement, I think it’s giving people and giving golf something that can be grasped and understanding that people can’t maybe commit to a full year. But if you give them a subset, “Hey. Here’s a nine week season,” which is what every season that we organize is nine weeks.
Alyson Johnson: You’re filling this niche where most leagues in the past, where I know for a woman, it’s like, oh great. We can play Tuesday at nine. And I’m like, full-time job and kids. Talk a little bit about that competitive edge.
So when you’ve got these people playing, I know that you’ve got some other cool stuff. You’re in the process of rolling out to continue to offer new and different solutions. So what happens at the end of those seasons?
Nick Conrad: [00:15:11] Each of our seasons run pretty similar to the PGA tour, like with the FedEx cup.
So they do have a point standings where we keep track, especially for those people that want the competitive edge, we got it. If you don’t really care about the points, you don’t have to look at the standings necessarily, but we give everybody points just for playing.
So, it’s all in good fun. I think it’s one of the really cool things about what we’re doing, and it goes back to our format a little bit. We’ve had some former PGA tour players that are now retired and living in Arizona and Florida that have played in some of our leagues and they play right alongside beginners.
We’ve been able to adapt our format to handicap, which has been really fun. To see it as like, “Hey, this works almost in any scenario of whomever comes to play.” We’re accommodating people that are competitive.
And like you said, we’re just one way to consume golf. As long as we keep listening and keep trying to make that value added I think we’ll be continuing to help build and grow the game.
Listen to the rest of the episode here to learn more about recreational golf leagues and more about Nick’s mission.