About four months after we launched TheGolfDirector.com, my friend Mitch Laurance said to me, “You need to join ING – The International Network of Golf”. After almost four decades of entrepreneurship, I’ve certainly joined my share “industry associations”. The benefits (for me) were normally limited to monthly, or annual gatherings that often include cocktails, possibly dinner, and listening to a (usually) boring speaker…you know the drill.  Rarely, from my perspective, have the benefits been worth the dues, not to mention the time. Such has certainly NOT been the case since TheGolfDirector.com joined the International Network of Golf (ING).

We attended our fist ING function at the PGA Merchandise show in Orlando this past winter. At the PGA show, ING provided some great “state of the industry” content for its members, and their meeting room served as a needed respite from the hours of walking and meetings during the convention…not to mention the refreshments. After that experience, I saw some obvious benefits. The staff were very helpful and seemed to go out of their way to make sure we felt at home at our first function. That turned out to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

The 24th Annual ING Spring Conference was held in Atlantic City at the Resorts Casino and Hotel. For me, there was some initial reluctance to attend. That’s my normal reaction to taking time away from work with so much to do. We actually drove up from Myrtle Beach due to having to carry extra (radio equipment) baggage. It was well worth the time and effort. ING truly does a fantastic job connecting media and golf. Networking opportunities existed throughout the conference, but the One-On-One Appointment Show was the highlight for me. This part of the conference included two morning  sessions with scheduled 20 minute appointments throughout the sessions. Since we were able to bring our radio equipment, Shan Coughlin and Mitch Laurance conducted back-to-back interviews throughout both sessions. We attended 3 days of the 4 day event, and were busy networking the entire time. We played  in one of  the awesome golf tournaments.  Our round was  at one of Ron Jaworski’s courses, Blue Heron Pines. Jaws was there hanging out during the event and after-party festivities.  I’ll be making advance reservations for the next ING Conference!

The ING Demo Day activities were held at the historic Atlantic City Country Club. Just getting to walk through that facility was worth the trip. Imagining the history that occurred there was special. Out on the practice range, with the Atlantic City skyline as the backdrop, were representatives from all around the golf industry. We were able to try out a variety of new products and were treated to an amazing exhibition by the Para Long Drive participants. Seeing these “differently-abled” individuals demonstrate incredible feats was heart-warming to say the least. When we amateurs worry so much about grip, stance, and balance, seeing guys with only one arm or one leg hit golf balls 320 and 350 yards will make you realize just how much of the game is mental.

With such a beneficial experience, I had to personally take the time to give credit.  The connections we’ve made through ING have proven to be extremely beneficial. Just as satisfying are the opportunities to support other ING members with our services. Anyone in the golf industry could benefit as well by joining ING and becoming an active member. For more information visit their site at httpss://inggolf.com.