If you have been following the PGA and LPGA announcements for the last couple of years you are aware these professional golf tours are struggling to keep and find new sponsors. If you have been to a local charity golf tournament lately then you saw the reduction of the number of players. If you play golf frequently then you more than likely are seeing more open tee times are your golf facilities. What you are really seeing is the impact the world economy is having on golf. Less people are playing golf..Why?
The reason is not totally due to the fact people cannot afford to play. Wanting to play or understanding what golf is about is what I found over 60% of the people I have asked this questions are telling me.
“I have never seen what the big deal is about hitting a golf ball”… “I don’t understand it so why play it?”… “I could never find anyone to show me how to play so I never played”… “My parents wanted me to play team sports in hope I would experience what they experienced when they played.”… “Golf was not accessible where I lived or I would have probably played.”…
What will help to turn this around?
Here are the Top 3 Things that are good for Golf and have potential to turning around the direction golf is heading.
More Tour Events, not less.
Watching in person a professional golfer hit the golf ball has to be the best commercial or marketing strategy GOLF can have. IF that was the first exposure a non-golfers was given there would be more people playing golf today.
Then seeing that golf professional playing against other very talented golfers with the same skill level would provide viewers a clear picture of what playing golf is all about.
The only way anyone can accomplished this is through attending a Professional Golf Tournament. However, accessibility to those venues are limited to less than 40 locations in the country requiring most golf fans outside that area to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to see a professional golf tournament.
Television has helped with providing an excellent opportunity for millions to see the players up close and personal. This has opened the window to non-golfers to see the game from a good seat in their living room. However, there is no way to transfer the environment the game is played in or to see the flight of the ball without being present at a tour event.
Also watching golf on television is limited to only three or four holes with full camera coverage and marquee coverage of the leaders. This does not help to show the true struggle every professional golfers experiences. Standing next to them and watching live in person is the ONLY way to gain a complete understanding of what GOLF is all about.
The professional level golf tournaments also employee millions of people who service these events. These events support an entire economy of businesses that trickles down into the communities the tournament is held.
More professional golf tournaments, both PGA and LPGA, need to be produced..not less. Providing more opportunities for golfers and non-golfers to attend a professional golf tournament is good for golf.
More Junior Golf
If you ever ask someone or yourself why the Asian born golfers play golf so much better that other countries you can thank their junior golf programs. The world, yes that includes the USA, needs to accept golf as a mainstream activity that is introduced to children at a young age. Junior Golf needs to be as accessible in schools as much as the team sports society forces down the kids throat. Exposing children to golf at an early age would improve how they treat each other throughout life.
Junior golf programs need to be more than just slapping a tee-shirt on a child, handing them a golf club and then turning on the TV cameras so the sponsors of the junior golf programs can get their ROI out of the commercials that will be run to promote the program. Junior golf needs serious programs set up to cover a long term on instruction instead of limiting the program to what can be taught in an hour.
Truly, the future of golf is in the junior programs. Lets get serious with these program and starts bring golf into the educational system. This would be good for golf.
More Golf Schools
One of the top reasons more people do not play golf is due to the learning factor..or the perception learning golf is HARD..geez. What starts out as an attempt to hit a little white ball could result in a life changing experience in many people’s lives if they were given an opportunity to learn from the very beginning how to play golf.
The intimidation factor of learning golf and playing golf needs to be reduced thru affordable golf schools that teach from the beginning what golf is all about. Sure, everyone wants to hit a golf ball a mile. However, there is greater satisfaction in hitting the ball a mile when it is understood how it is done.
Learning the game or sport of golf needs to be more accessible..this is good for golf.
Golf and the Golf Industry needs to look to doing more of the things that are GOOD for golf and move away form the things or images that are not good for golf. In order for golf to survive through this economy more people need to play golf. In order to do that golf has to do a better job of showing people what golf is all about.
Let me know how I can help.