Ted Eleftheriou has joined the National Golf Foundation’s senior management team as Vice President of Player Development & Engagement after spending the previous five years with the PGA of America. In his new role, Eleftheriou will lead the organization’s efforts to reconnect with its player development roots, including overseeing NGF’s nascent WELCOME2GOLF initiative.
As the PGA of America’s Director of Program Development since 2014, Eleftheriou conducted more than 100 one- and two-day business development workshops attended by over 5,000 golf business professionals, among them golf pros, owners and operators. He provided solutions to the challenges that golf facilities and their staffs face throughout the U.S. and Canada, focusing on leadership, golf facility management and revenue growth, and the creation of extraordinary customer experiences.
Eleftheriou’s previous experience also includes being the owner/operator of Create Golfers Academy in Orlando, Director of Instruction for the Orange County National Golf Learning Center, and the Eastern Regional Director for the Nike Golf Learning Centers, where he oversaw the creation and operation of 41 learning centers. In addition to teaching, he is a consultant, speaker and writer.
“I am very excited to be joining a very inspired team of professionals at NGF,” said Eleftheriou. “This is an organization that enjoys a great reputation in the golf business world for its objective research, which I am going to help put into action. As long-time PGA member who has held almost every type of job in the golf industry, I look forward to the opportunity to kick-start growth with player development initiatives like WELCOME2GOLF.”
Eleftheriou’s role will also include communication and engagement with golf facilities in the U.S., including the nearly 1,300 that are NGF members.
While golf businesses from every sector trust the NGF’s objective data, research, reports and insights to stay informed, the NGF over the past 80 years has continually evolved to provide the industry with what it most needed at the time. The organization has recently begun utilizing its research expertise to focus primarily on adult golf development in an effort to increase the number of committed golfers.
“Ted is a hands-on professional with tremendous credibility among his fellow golf professionals. He knows how to design and deliver player development programs and will be bringing that knowledge to our members and the industry at large,” said NGF President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Beditz.
NGF research estimates there are 15 million Americans who are very interested in playing golf, but haven’t taken the first step, for a variety of reasons. WELCOME2GOLF is an initiative – currently in its pilot program stage — that works directly with golf courses to give these people a nudge to act on that interest, and provide them with resources that show how and where to begin playing golf.
The NGF has played a key role in the game’s player development efforts in the past. In the 1970s and 1980s, the organization helped create more competent golf teachers and instructors by developing model teaching methods, producing numerous videos, and training high school physical education teachers how to introduce their students to golf.
“The youth golfer segment has many industry-supported programs and clearly is an important part to the long-term growth of golf,” said Eleftheriou. “While we will continue to support these programs, our main focus with WELCOME2GOLF and other NGF initiatives will be on the adult population of beginning, latent and lapsed golfers who provide an immediate impact to the short-term growth in golf.
“Business as usual will no longer do. Gone are the days of waiting for the phone to ring and just opening the doors to our golf courses,” he added. “To be successful, the golf industry needs to be proactive and manage the consumer experience, from the curiosity of trying golf for the very first time to guiding the consumer along their desired level and comfort of play. I have no doubt that NGF, as it did in the past, will once again contribute directly to the growth of the game and I’m excited to be part of this great organization as it redefines the future business of golf.”
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.