A NEW YEAR, A NEW GAP.
In the 1990s, I spent considerable time in Australia. One of the great things about traveling to Australia was flying Qantas Airways (obviously a distant second to Aussie beer and barbie). Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier, is a superb airline. It is the third oldest airline in the world. Naturally, sharing a name starting with “Q,” at some point I asked why there was no “U’ in Qantas. I discovered that Qantas represents the letters for the Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services. The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services over time recognized that the name didn’t reflect the broad and ever-expanding geographic reach of the airline, which served every Australian state. It was this very same problem that confronted GAP in 2018.
The Golf Association of Philadelphia has a great heritage as the nation’s oldest state or regional golf association, but Philadelphia doesn’t accurately describe the broad and ever-expanding geographic reach of our organization. GAP now covers all of Eastern Pennsylvania as well as outstanding clubs in New Jersey and Delaware. Recognizing this expanded footprint, we knew a rebranding of the Golf Association of Philadelphia should be considered. Naturally, like Qantas, we had an obvious alternative by using the letters of our organization’s name. The use of GAP became an obvious choice since most of our members have been calling their organization “GAP” for decades with the use of the letters and name tracing back to its 1897 beginning.
Our rebranding comes with a new, fresher and more descriptive logo (third in 122 years), which we hope our members find appealing. The name “Golf Association of Philadelphia” is not going away and will continue to be used, but we will lead with GAP as our organizational identity. Our new brand also comes with a completely overhauled website that is easier for our members to access and utilize. The new website will be more dynamic and user-friendly. It will contain more information on the benefits of GAP, which we hope our members will find valuable. It’s been a busy winter, but our members expect GAP to be better each and every year, and we remain committed to meeting and exceeding that expectation.
A prominent use of our brand is the BMW GAP Team Matches (GTM), which is covered in this issue. As the oldest and probably the largest team competition in the United States, the BMW GAP Team Matches, like blooming flowers, announces the beginning of the golf season and months of great experiences on the course to come. This year we regionalized some of the GTM to encourage more participation and to ensure our large geographic reach doesn’t discourage people from participating. (I had a recurring nightmare about members of Greate Bay [Country Club] and Tyoga [Country Club] getting up at 3 a.m. to make the 290-mile, five-hour drive to play each other). Again, we’re hoping to make the best team competition in the U.S. even better by making the BMW GAP Team Matches available to all Member Clubs regardless of their location.
This issue also focuses on some of the amazing practice facilities at GAP Members Clubs. As a golfer whose best shots are typically on the range, not on the course, I’m fascinated at what Member Clubs offer their golfers as a place to refine their game and to receive expert guidance from their club pro. The time and money that clubs are investing in upgrading their practice facilities are just one more indication of the health of our game. We have practice facilities at some of our Member Clubs that are only slightly smaller than Rhode Island. Regrettably, we were unable to locate a practice facility with a patch of woods where I could practice my punch-out shot.
Those of you who are film buffs undoubtedly remember Dustin Hoffman in the 1988 movie “Rain Man.” Hoffman, as an autistic savant, refuses to fly any airline other than Qantas because they’ve never had a fatal crash. In fact, one of Qantas’ closest calls came on Sept. 23, 1999 when a Qantas 747 overshot the runway in Bangkok, Thailand. There were no fatalities as the plane safely came to rest – where else – but on a golf course. Golf is everywhere, and I hope all of you find yourself on the golf course often this spring. Just not strapped in an airline seat.