There have been many articles written about golf and its viabilities to the economy and society or lack there of. Lots of words said and suggestions made to what golf needs to do or not do. In his recent newsletter, Outside the Ropes, Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corp has said it the best…
THE PUBLIC AND POLITICIANS CRY CROCODILE TEARS FOR GOLF – Jim Koppenhaver- Pellucid Corp
For those of you who’ve been out of touch with the world outside golf, the industry has been taking a public relations beating on many fronts. As has been noted in numerous industry publications however, golf has slipped significantly over a period of time from its "most favored sport" status of Presidents and celebrities to its current moniker of environmental abuser and massage parlor peer status. As our industry struggles to mount a credible and audible defense of our honor as a business and recreational sport, I would suggest that we take some time to understand the nature of the current "piling on" mentality and how we’ve engendered some part of it. I’d also recommend that our defense be balanced and supportable, not the typical PR barrage of all positives and over-inflated numbers that the public and politicians will write off immediately due to its obvious incredibility (as in "not credible" not "amazing").
With each new article I read describing golf in some new egregious light (i.e. USA Today’s opinion article suggesting golf is a microcosm of corporate greed etc.), it reminds me of the expression "crocodile tears" which has become symbolic of feigned empathy. In this issue, I’ll highlight a few examples of the challenges we face in repairing and rebuilding our reputation and how I’d suggest we meet them head-on:
- Golf’s private vs. public persona, why the two often get confused
- Katrina wake-up call, is this the company we keep as an industry?
- Golf and taxes, avoidance is a longshot, how about fair and equitable treatment?
- Corporate entertainment and business outings, down but not out
- Charitable giving, more focus on community contribution than marquee causes
While I can’t assure us as an industry that the world’s perception of golf will change overnight given the major economic, political and media forces at play here, I believe we really have only two choices: 1) We can hunker down, lay low and wait for the attention to shift to the next whipping boy issue and industry or 2) We can reach out and explain our industry and position to those willing to listen and, importantly, back it up with action and consistency. The benefit of the latter is that, in addition to potentially shortening our time in "the penalty box", it also lays the foundation for a more intelligent public, political and media discussion the next time we come under fire (and we will, I promise you)…
I will agree (again) with Mr Koppenhaver. More has to be done than writing articles and talking words about how wonderful golf is..action needs to be taken to show how important golf is to the economy and what golf is really about.