Making Golf Great Again
(4 minute read)
I know what you’re going to say, (Making Golf Great Again?) but I couldn’t help myself when thinking up a title for this piece. After all, it seemed to have helped a fellow golfer become the leader of the free world. Regardless of your political leanings, you can’t deny it’s on point.
But I guess the question is, isn’t golf already great? It sure is! The problem we see though, is either everyone else forgot that or isn’t making a concerted effort to let others know. They seemingly turned up their noses, told certain people they weren’t allowed to play for one reason or another, and created an aura that says we’re fine with just having the status quo. What happens when the old regime is gone from the game? That’s one of the reasons we started Golf Fore It – an avenue for punctuating the great courses out there and all the fun that comes along with the whole golf experience. Hopefully, providing some info and a reason for that 20 something or the 50 something to get out and give it a go for the first time. You and I both know they’ll be hooked after that one good shot.
Is promoting a new version of golf really necessary? Maybe, but not necessarily. Bigger holes on the course is a good way to help introduce the game to young kids to help teach, which makes sense, but how about something like foot golf? Kicking a ball around a golf course, outside of maybe losing your cool, doesn’t really sound like golf at all does it? It sound more like something you do on a soccer field. How about finding new ways to market the existing pleasures the game has to offer? The full experience! Promote the full day experience at the course – hit the range, maybe grab a bite before teeing off on hole #1, and wrap up the your round at the 19th hole. Why wouldn’t one want to take their time enjoying a well manicured and natural landscape surrounding? That’s one of the beauties of taking part in this game. Stroll through the course during your round and appreciate the architecture and thought behind what went into creating it. Something else that’s entertaining? Watching your buddy shank 3 shots in a row. Nothing brings me more pleasure on the course (except a 325 yard drive) than watching Justin J.’s bald spot turn red with pure frustration at the crappy round he’s having. Not that vindictive? Then how about getting excited about how well your pal has gotten up and down with 3 consecutive birdie holes. The point is there are many ways to enjoy the tradition of this sport, without turning it into something it’s not.
In like manner, over 650.5 (how does half a course close?) courses have closed since 2006. A big number that confirms the decline of the game. Or does it? Most of the closures are the dog tracks that sprang up around the country during the boom times of home building where every developer thought it was a good idea to put some half rate course in the center of their new community as an attraction piece. The market became too saturated, and that’s not what golf is meant to be about.
If you believe the numbers over the past few years, the game of golf is not as popular with the younger generation as it used to be. I’m sure there is more than one reason why this is happening, but the question is, how do we help change that? Well, from what I’ve seen there are several startup companies that are hard at work Making Golf Great, reversing the trend. Tech Companies like Beagle – launching a free app that will work with their NFS stickers that attach to your clubs and the Beagle clip which you have on your belt. You’re able to track your score, share it with friends, and more, all in real time. Or how about apparel/equipment companies like USAG (U Suck at Golfing), or Seamus Golf, both of whom, in their own way, have created merchandise that is unique to the game. The point is, there is so much yet to be explored and discovered with the game of golf and maybe with a little collaboration with the PGA, LPGA and USGA, they can help promote these great upstarts (i.e. Golf Fore It).
Think about how you got involved with the game, whether it be a parent, grandparent, family friend, mentor, club, etc…(it started somewhere), and see if you, myself included, can reciprocate that same exposure with someone who has yet to experience this wonderful game we all love. I think if we can do that, we’ll be able to move the needle in the right direction, and start Making Golf Great Again.