NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Golf Digest Online
Golf Digest Online (GDO), Inc. is the largest golf business in Japan, the world’s second-largest golf market.
While it has a similar name, it has no real affiliation with U.S.-based Golf Digest magazine, though GDO is closely involved with several other leading American golf businesses.
Tokyo-based GDO got its start in 2000 by launching an online golf course reservations service as well as advertising and marketing services. Today, it not only is Japan’s largest online tee-time booking agent, but GDO also provides tee-time management software and has an extensive retail operation comprised of 10 GOLFTEC instruction centers, five brick-and-mortar golf stores in Japan, and an e-commerce business focused on trade-ins and sales of new and pre-owned golf clubs.
GDO’s media division operates multiple golf-centric, advertiser-supported websites and also provides multiple online services as well as numerous real-time events.
In 2017, Golf Digest Online gained exclusive rights to sell products from GOLF 100 company Arccos in Japan. A year later, GDO acquired a majority interest in GOLFTEC, another GOLF 100 business, after previously owning a minority stake in the leading golf instruction and club-fitting service.
“We are connecting the world through golf, and GolfTec’s global presence and effectiveness with students are tremendous assets to achieve this vision,” Mike Ishizaka, GDO’s founder, chairman and CEO, said at the time. “Helping golfers around the globe to play better and enjoy the game is vital for the success of the golf industry, and so GolfTec will be an impactful addition to our group.”