Table Speech

“The Current State of Japanese Professional Golf World”

July 9, 2008

Mr. Isao Matsui,
The Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan

 The Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (PGA) held its 75th Japan PGA Championship in Okinawa last year. There are close to 5,000 members in PGA. The members are all unique individuals, and the members are a gathering of professionals, having strong egos, but also strong golf skills.
 I devoted all my time to manage a lot of incidents and accidents in the first year that I assumed the office of the 9th chairman of the PGA. Last year, I thought about how to change our organization. The PGA is a public organization, and therefore I thought not of what can be done for the organization’s members, but rather how we should act as the organization.
 The first thing to be done was change of members’ awareness. There is something wrong with the existence of a public organization that does not disclose information. I began by disclosing to the members the information on what our organization was thinking and planning. With the help from some parties from outside our organization, I started trial work on setting up a compliance committee. I made efforts to undertake strict accounting audits, and disclosed the process to the members.
 This year, my third year, I want to realize the unification of the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) and the PGA. The Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (LPGA) is a “one industry one organization” type, with strong organizational powers. The male organization is a “one industry two organizations” type, but my desire is for it to become a strong group and for the members to be active overseas as well.
 Now I will talk a little about the organization of the Japanese golf world. In Japanese golf world, there are 16 organizations, ranging from incorporated associations, incorporated foundations, incorporated nonprofit organizations, etc. Atop the pyramid of these various organizations is the Japan Golf Association (JGA). Under the JGA, there are three incorporated associations, the Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (PGA), the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) and the Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (LPGA). The organization concerned with golf clubs, goods and accessories is the Japan Golf Goods Association (JGGA). The Turfgrass Research & Development Organization of Japan (TOJ; that is nonprofit organization) conducts research on the turf of some nearly 2,400 golf courses located in Japan. The Greenery by Golfers Group (GGG) is an organization, which works to turn school playgrounds into grass under the slogan “Greenery for all Japan. We at the PGA also cooperate with this organization.
 There are 2,566 teaching and 2,095 tournament professionals in the PGA. There are some 500 members who are 50 years or older. With respect to tournaments, we have the right to the Japan PGA Championship. Last year the championship was held in Okinawa, and it will be held this year in Gunma Prefecture and Hokkaido the next. In the future, we plan to hold the event in various parts of the country as a part of the goals to revitalize local communities. We are planning 9 seniors’ tournaments for this year.
 The number of professional golfers in the world is said to include roughly 25,000 in the United States and 7,300 in Great Britain. In the United States, professional golf is divided into divisions, and tournament professionals manage the tours, and there are commissioners. At the golf courses, there is no front desk, but all players pass the pro shop and the revenues of the pro shop all flow to the professionals themselves. Professionals who have been able to obtain A-class license have not only the right to enter tournaments, but are also left with the responsibility of managing the golf course.
 There are more than 45,000 active professional golfers in the world. Golf, today generates over $90 billion of economic effects worldwide, and its social and economic impacts are enormous. The PGA hopes to continue efforts to create the impression that the male professional golf world has improved, and will continue to contribute to the revitalization of local communities and make contributions to society.