Date: May 10, 2013
Author: New Zealand Golf

NZ Golf and NZ PGA to explore merger

New Zealand Golf and the PGA of New Zealand have signed a Heads of Agreement to explore the establishment of a combined governance entity for golf in New Zealand. The Heads of Agreement specifically arises from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties on 23 June 2011, in which the parties agreed to work together with the goal of creating a long term vision and plan for golf in New Zealand. Dean Murphy, the Chief Executive of New Zealand Golf, said that this was a landmark moment for the game of golf in New Zealand. This is a very significant achievement in the administrations of New Zealand Golf and the PGA of New Zealand, said Murphy. The proposed merger with the PGA of New Zealand has been some time in the making, with some hard work from both parties. We believe this alignment of our organisations and their capabilities would have a very positive impact on both creating a secure future for the game here in New Zealand, in our clubs and communities, and would also increase our ability to compete on the international stage. We both know that we are operating in a challenging time for golf and we are looking to meet those challenges head on. It makes great sense to combine our capabilities and develop a unified approach where a Whole of Golf vision for the game is being achieved. Duncan Simpson, the Chief Executive of the PGA of New Zealand, echoed that sentiment. When we reviewed the PGA s strategic plan over two years ago it became clear that the key issues and challenges were all about the game of golf, said Simpson. It was obvious that these needed to be tackled under a combined strategy and vision and this was the initial thrust of our discussions with New Zealand Golf and the resulting Memorandum of Understanding. A principal outcome to be explored was alternative organisational and governance structures where appropriate to enhance and accelerate achievement of the agreed common vision and plan . The existing entities, (New Zealand Golf and the PGA of New Zealand), have now agreed that a combined and single entity would be in the best interests of all participants in golf to provide a secure pathway for the future of golf in New Zealand. Challenges facing golf: an aging and declining club membership base; a growing casual golf playing population that has low engagement levels with the existing governing bodies and golf clubs; low junior membership numbers; financial health concerns and vulnerable long term futures for many Clubs; low numbers of New Zealand golfers competing and winning on the world stage; a lack of alignment of golf organisations leading to uncoordinated strategies, objectives and actions. The intention is to create a combined entity that will be responsible for leading a Whole of Golf strategic framework for the sport throughout New Zealand. There are a number of core benefits of creating one combined entity including: a single leadership voice for golf thereby providing clarity of direction for all participants and stakeholders; a single structure that provides operational synergies and efficiencies; a seamless pathway for players, coaches, participants and administrators. Next Steps The parties will now work through a formal process covering due diligence, structural and constitutional issues, membership input and approval, and the composition of a Transition Board leading to a final governance structure for the combined entity. These steps are outlined in more detail below in the Principles of the Heads of Agreement . To take this process forward the parties will shortly create an Establishment Committee for the combined entity that has representation from NZG and the PGA with a further independent member to be appointed as Chair. The parties also plan an early release of their joint Vision and Plan for golf in New Zealand, which will set in motion specific strategies and activities to grow the game and address the challenges noted earlier.