International Network of Golf (ING)
The International Network of Golf (ING) recently celebrated its 25th anniversary at Mission Inn Resort at Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. ING was founded by Mike Jamison who realized the need for better media relationships in the golf industry. He created an event to bring media, manufacturing, public relations, and related organizations together to do a better job reporting to the business community. “At the time (25 years ago) I owned a magazine that covered the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida,” remembers Jamison in an interview at the recent ING Spring Conference. “We felt like there wasn’t any communication between the magazines and shows like ours and the business community. Therefore, we weren’t doing a good enough job getting the message out to the golfers out there…through the different media outlets. So, we decided to put together an event that brought all those elements together so we could learn how to communicate better, and test the products first hand that we were going to write about or talk about on radio or TV, and do a better job reporting to the public.”
From it’s humble, but respectable beginnings in 1991 at their first event at Hilton Head Island that attracted about 60 attendees, ING has grown to over 500 members. The 2015 25th Anniversary Spring Conference at Mission Inn attracted 160 attendees from all aspects of the golf industry. Something that becomes evident when speaking to ING members, is the longevity of membership. Many of the members were ten and fifteen year veterans, and several have been members since the inception. To call this a tightly knit organization would be an understatement. ING is like a family coming together from all aspects of life and the golf industry.
One of the jewels of an ING event is demo day. Manufacturers line up with the latest golf products and technology to showcase their brands to the media. There’s nothing better for media personnel than have the opportunity to use new products, and to see how other’s reactions compare to their own. On the demo line at the 25th ING Spring Conference were TaylorMade Golf, Yamaha, Freedom Golf Association, Paralong Drive, Sky Golf, Knuth Golf, SwingClick Golf, Razor Golf, Gilchrist Golf Academy, Epson, Fling Golf, NIKE Golf, iMapMy Golf, Tour Edge, VPAR, Golf Skate Caddy, SNAG, Cure Putters, and EyeLine Golf. Demo Day also included a inspiring exhibition from paralyzed (from the waist down) golfer Dennis Walters and his amazing rescue dog Bucky.
Part of what makes International Network of Golf (ING) unique are their One-On-One sessions. It’s like speed dating for businesses in the golf industry. Each exhibitor has 20 minutes with each guest to learn about and explore potential connections and opportunities between the two meeting organizations. There are two sessions on separate days when exhibitors meet the attendees they have requested to interview and meet with attendees who have requested their presence. Unlike most associations that include a membership fee, dinner, and social hour, ING creates relationships among it’s members. The membership is filled with stories about how ING has helped establish long-lasting relationships and boosted business.
An ING Conference is 4 days packed full of activities with evening socials, breakfasts, dinners, luncheons, a banquet, and speakers wrapped around demo day, the one-on-one sessions, and of course a couple of rounds of golf. Anyone in the golf industry can certainly benefit from an ING membership. For the 2016 Spring Conference, attendees will be travel to Heber Valley, Utah. For more information on the International Network of Golf (ING) go to http://inggolf.com.