The National Golf Foundation added four new members to its Board of Directors this year, appointments that embody the NGF’s unique standing as the only trade organization that works with every sector within the golf industry
New to the NGF’s diverse board in 2018 are:
- Annika Sorenstam – President/CEO of the ANNIKA Foundation and brand of businesses
- John K. Solheim – President of PING
- Tim Schantz – President of Troon Golf
- Brad Hamilton – Group Vice President, Commercial and International, of The Toro Company
PGA TOUR Superstore President and CEO Dick Sullivan was elected as Chairman of the NGF’s Board of Directors at the organization’s November board meeting in Jupiter, Florida. Sullivan is the first executive from the golf retail side of the industry to hold the position in the NGF’s 82-year history. TaylorMade Golf CEO and President David Abeles was elected as Vice Chairman of the NGF board, with Golf Tourism Solutions President Bill Golden appointed as Secretary/Treasurer.
The NGF’s Board of Directors has long been comprised of leaders from various sectors of the industry. This year’s additions – representing an equipment manufacturer, a course management business and a turf and course supplier, along with one of the most accomplished women’s golfers in history – further reflects that diversity, which brings broad perspective to the organization’s efforts to foster the growth and vitality of the game and the business of golf.
Sorenstam is widely regarded as the best female golfer of all-time, amassing 89 worldwide professional wins – including 10 major titles – during her 15-year Hall of Fame playing career. In 2007, she created the ANNIKA Foundation, which provides golf opportunities at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. As President and CEO of ANNIKA, Club 59, Inc., she oversees a variety of businesses that include a high-end women’s apparel partnership with Cutter & Buck, a growing course design company and a signature series of ultra-premium wines.
Solheim is the President of PING, which was founded by his grandfather, Karsten Solheim. After starting at the company as a design engineer and project manager, he became VP of Engineering and in 2011 was named President of PING Golf Japan, where he oversaw all aspects of the company’s business in Japan and Asia. In 2017, he took over his current position overseeing PING’s global efforts.
Schantz is the President of Troon Golf, which is the world’s largest manager of golf and club operations. He has over 25 years of experience specializing in corporate and real estate transactions, with the last two decades focused on the golf and leisure sector. Schantz has been with Troon since 1998 and helps to guide all aspects of the company’s general matters and strategy.
Hamilton, who first joined The Toro Company in 1988 as a marketing intern, was appointed group vice president for commercial and international last November. Previously, he held multiple executive positions in Toro’s commercial division as well as management roles for the company – a leading worldwide provider of turf, landscape and construction equipment — in distributor development, financial services and marketing.
The other members of the NGF board not previously mentioned include former First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow Jr., Callaway President and CEO Chip Brewer, and NGF President and CEO Joe Beditz.
For more information about the NGF’s board of directors, visit our new website.
Outgoing board members include Bill Brown (Group Vice President for Toro), Peter Hill (Chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf) and Sarah Hirshland, who recently left her position as Chief Commercial Officer at the USGA to become CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Collectively, those three served 21 years on the NGF’s Board of Directors. Hill reached his term limit (three consecutive 3-year terms), while Brown and Hirshland have both transitioned outside the golf business.
The NGF is widely regarded as the foremost authority in the golf business for data, research and consulting. The foundation serves members across every sector in the golf industry, with an expertise that includes market intelligence in golf participation, consumer behavior, course operations, facility development, travel, retail, consumer confidence and more.