The National Golf Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit trade association founded in 1936 by journalists Herb and Joe Graffis to promote golf -- particularly new golfers and golf courses. It was created as an effort to reverse the game’s decline that began with the stock market crash of 1929 and grew steadily worse, even as other segments of the nation’s economy were shaking off effects of the Great Depression.
The Graffis brothers received $17,000 from six of the game’s leading equipment manufacturers, all of which were on the brink of bankruptcy, to support the NGF’s mission. For more than 80 years since, the NGF has fostered the growth and vitality of the game and the golf business while continually evolving to provide the industry with what it most needed at the time.
The NGF’s initial efforts included publishing a book on golf course construction (How to Build a Golf Course) along with the development and upkeep of a first-of-its-kind record of the nation’s golf courses. Both of those early efforts helped the NGF gain widespread recognition as the research organization of the golf industry. They continue to be reflected in the Foundation’s important modern functions: the tracking of industry data and trends, and consulting for golf facility development and operations.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the NGF’s field staff worked with small towns and municipalities to encourage the development of public golf. In the 1970s and 1980s, the focus shifted to helping create more competent golf teachers and instructors. The NGF developed model teaching methods, produced thousands of videos and trained high school physical education teachers how to introduce their students to golf.
The Foundation assumed a major golf business leadership role in 1981 by calling the first industry-wide “Forum for Golf” in Dallas, Texas. The meeting established the NGF as the umbrella organization serving the golf industry. The NGF is still supported by the game’s major equipment manufacturers, but also counts thousands of members representing every facet of the industry: apparel companies; retail; media; turf maintenance equipment and course suppliers; software and consumer technology; individual and multi-course owners and operators, course architects, developers and builders; appraisers, brokers and consultants; companies offering specialized services to the golf industry; private and public golf facilities; national, regional, state and local golf associations. All support the Foundation’s work through their membership.
Today, the NGF is trusted by the most important businesses and organizations in golf as the foremost authority of accurate and objective measures of the game’s vitality. Golf companies from every sector rely on the NGF’s data, research, reports and insights to keep them informed on overall industry trends, with expertise delivered by the world’s largest research staff dedicated to the golf business. Additionally, NGF Consulting, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary formed in 1989, provides one-on-one proprietary services to help clients become more successful in an ever-changing business environment.
The NGF is based in Jupiter, FL. For the past 30 years, it has been led by President and CEO, Dr. Joseph Beditz, who reports to the board of directors.