"We simply want to bring many more golfers to Minnesota," said Richard
Howell, chairman of the board of directors for the EMGA. "We believe this
will make us competitive with the top golf destinations in the country.
We now have an expanded golf product, superb support facilities, excellent
transportation and access to this market. The state is ready for this idea."
After a year-long national search, Minnesota native Doug Hart was hired
to be the Executive Director of the EMGA. Hart, who worked for nine years
heading up the Myrtle Beach golf outreach program, will work with a 19-member
board of directors made up of golf course owners and managers, tourism
leaders, and representatives from the hospitality industry.
"We have a great opportunity here to get the word out about Minnesota's
tremendous array of golf courses," said Hart. "Our goal is to make the
Explore Minnesota Golf brand name recognizable across the country and eventually,
throughout the world."
The State of Minnesota's
Department of Tourism, the Minnesota Golf Association (MGA), the
Minnesota section of the PGA, the Minnesota Golf Course Managers Association
(MGCMA) and other allied associations, along with the resort and hospitality
industries, have been strongly supportive of this effort. The primary role
for the alliance will be the creation, development, and implementation
of "Explore Minnesota Golf" marketing strategies across the nation. The
alliance will be funded by a variety of sources, including the MGA, the
Minnesota Office of Tourism, member courses, resorts, hotels/motels and,
ultimately, corporate marketing partnerships.
"We are convinced we can now sell the Minnesota golf product nationally
and internationally, reaching beyond our traditional tourism markets,"
said Steve Markuson, Director of Tourism for the State of Minnesota. "The
EMGA represents a cooperative effort of the Minnesota golf, tourism and
hospitality industries to position Minnesota as one of the country's premier
"Coming on the heels of the MGA's economic impact report (which was
released November 14 and revealed that Minnesota's golf industry accounted
for $829.7 million in economic benefit to the state economy last year),
this is a great shot in the arm for course owners and managers," said Dick
Bennett, president of the Minnesota Golf Association. "In terms of marketing
our state's golf courses, successful implementation of the Explore Minnesota
Golf initiative will put us up there with the top golf destinations in
The mission statement for the EMGA is as follows: to develop, produce
and manage a fully integrated marketing communications program for the
benefit of all EMGA members that includes advertising, public relations
and promotions designed to attract golf tourism to Minnesota and retain
existing golfers, maximizing the growth of golf-related room nights in
the member accommodations and golf rounds at member courses.
"Minnesota has some of the most beautiful and challenging courses in
the country," said Jon Tollette, executive director of the Minnesota section
of the PGA. "We offer a variety of unique and quality accommodations that
compare with the top markets in the country."
Fred Bobich -- Ruttger's Sugar Lake, Grand Rapids
Mark Ronnei, Grand View Lodge, Nisswa
Tom Haugen -- Stonebrooke, Shakopee
John Montague -- Colle McVoy Inc.,
John Connelly -- Mpls North Metro Convention Visitors Bureau
Dutch Cragun -- Cragun's, Brainerd
Ross Galarneault -- MGA, Edina
Scott Harrison -- Lutsen Resort, Lutsen
Arnold Hewes -- Hospitality Minnesota, St. Paul
Jeff Budd -- Rush Creek Golf Course, Maple Grove
Steve Markuson -- Minnesota Office of Tourism, St. Paul
Roger Miller -- Minnetonka Travel, Wayzata
Jim Peters -- Peters Sunset Beach, Glenwood
Jack Ruttger -- Ruttger's Bay Lake, Deerwood
Brian Thuringer -- Maddens, Brainerd
Jon Tollette -- Minnesota Section of PGA, Coon Rapids
John Valliere -- Braemar Golf Course, Edina
Jason Tollette -- Izaty's Golf Yacht Club, Onamia