If you’re like many business owners and leaders, you probably spend a considerable amount of time on the golf course. For Zachary Creed of Oakville, golf is business. A golfer, golf instructor and entrepreneur, Zack Creed got his first taste of the sport when he served as captain of the golfing team at his high school in New Jersey. After graduation he studied Professional Golf Management and recreation management at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where in 2009 he was named Player of the Year and completed internships at several of the top courses in the U.S. He became a member of the PGA of America following his final internship.
Following a few years of managing and working with several top golf courses, teaching golf and ultimately learning all the elements that make up a high performing club professional, Zack took a job in sales and marketing for Midas Event Supply in Ontario, California, where he sold products their products to golf & country clubs nationwide and evaluated the expansion of these golf products into the Canadian market. In his first six months, he brought in more than $100,000 in new sales.
These days, Zack Creed is intently focused on his next venture—a golf-focused business he plans to launch this fall that will feature simulated play, golf lessons, and a pro shop.
It’s a lucrative market.
Citing the 2019 Golf Industry Report published by the National Golf Association that provides annual statistics about the state of the game, Zack says that, “Golf is an $84 billion dollar industry that currently attracts 24 million players a year.” He adds that, it’s a very viable business to be in.
That said, Zack acknowledges that being in the business of golf is much different today than when he was managing courses. “People who own or run golf courses now have a number of operational issues to consider,” he notes. “For example, the costs associated with operating a golf course continue to increase. Also, you need to be financially stable while also being environmentally friendly. And, of course, the considerable amount of land golf courses demand makes them a natural target for real estate developers’.”
He adds that there’s also a greater emphasis on improving the player experience.
One positive development that’s taken place in recent years is the changed public perception of the sport. “There was a time,” he recalls, “when many people believed that golf was strictly a rich person’s game, that you had to be somewhat well-to-do to even set foot on a course. That’s no longer the case. Today, people at all socioeconomic levels enjoy a day on the greens.”
Recently, Forbes reported that the World Golf Foundation’s WE ARE GOLF initiative is actively working to explore how greater diversity and inclusivity can be promoted in the golf world. This includes encouraging more women, juniors and millennials to try the sport.
“We’ve seen in recent years some amazing golfers who didn’t represent the so-called stereotype,” Zack says. “Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer of my generation, is undoubtedly inspiring many young people to take an interest in the sport. Having taught golf for many years, I look forward to helping develop tomorrow’s pros.”
Not surprisingly, one of the biggest changes in the sport is the presence of technology. This includes increased social media activity, mobile apps, increased levels of information online, lessons on YouTube, and more. “As with everything in the business world, you have to stay connected, watch for the next big thing and keep your eye on the ball,” says Zack.