My thoughts on Golf

Golf is a game with respected traditions...

...but it’s not unreasonable to think that the game is not so stubborn in its ways that there isn’t room for some form of evolution. Changes to the game will be met with criticism and face strong opposition but progression is a way of life in sport. Formula One changes its rules every year, tennis has Hawkeye, cricket has the T20 and even football finally accepted goal line technology.

What needs to change?

  • There is still a stereotypical image of the golf club member.

  • The Clubhouse entrance and facilities need to be more welcoming to new visitors

  • Perhaps a relaxation of the dress codes! Clubs could review their dress codes and possibly relax knee-length socks!

  • Professional competitions need to adapt. To make watching more interesting shortened versions over less days or target golf formats could be introduced to see new and young people coming into the game. You only need to go to Sussex County Cricket ground on a T20 evening game and see the impact it has on people watching.

  • One particular way in which golf clubs have now seemingly shown their willingness to embrace new developments is by adopting the game of Footgolf. The game meshes together the concepts of golf and football and requires players to take turns in kicking a football into a large 21-inch cup in as few shots as possible. The game which is growing rapidly in popularity and has attracted new and young customers to clubs and courses.

  • Can we get this into the curriculum at schools?

How long does a game of golf take?
  • On a good day it’s four hours; on a bad day it could take over five. Do people know you can play 9 holes?

  • Can junior golf organisers (or new members committee) introduce three, six or nine hole competitions for the youngest/newest golfers?

  • Could clubs offer shorter open competitions of nine holes for new golfers of all ages, regardless of membership?

  • More competitions revolving around carrying just three clubs or greens in regulation challenges or target golf.

What does it cost to play golf?
  • If clubs are looking to attract new, regular customers then they really need to take a look at the benefits of our game. Running and cycling is becoming ever more popular is this down to cost? I don’t think so, bikes can cost more than a membership fee!

  • It is more accessible to start running or cycling. Golf has hurdles such as joining fees, needing a handicap before competitions.

  • If golf needs changing, it seems sensible that the governing bodies, clubs and professionals who are at the forefront of the economy of the sport, should take a leading role.

If you have any opinions as a golfer or non-golfer I welcome your thoughts.

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Lee Andrews - PGA Golf Professional