Since the mission and focus of the Business Golf Country Club is to help golf survive by doing what it can to put business back on course I thought I would list the Top 6 Things that are Good for golf in hopes more people will focus on the Good. I could sum up the one thing Golf needs to do to solve all its issues by saying…Make Golf Fun, but that is not Golf-like, is it? So for those out there who want to know the details, let me wade into what I find are the Top 6 Things need to be addressed to keep golf growing.
Reducing the Price for Golf
I could and have written a lot on this issue. The cost of golf has gone off the chart, and why is this? Economist will tell you that raising the price of golf is doing what the other icons of the economy are doing which is just that..doing what someone else is doing and not basing any of the increases on any logic or reasoning.
Country Clubs are reeling in budget issues from cost increases of operational supply and then compounding the issue by increasing payouts to investors or executive salaries with the explanation that it is due to previous contractual agreements. Previous unsound management decisions are starting to stress these pillars of the golf economy to a point that foreclosure is mandated. Where the Country Clubs go, so will Golf.
Golf equipment manufacturers for years have been unwisely spending huge sums of money on technology to make the golf ball go further when it has been proven over and over again that it is the golf swing that makes the ball go further. This cost of that technology has been long paid for, so why aren’t the prices for golf equipment going down.
Yes, the average golfer wants to golf ball to go further and further in an effort to gain advantage against scoring a PAR. Naturally, when there is an invention of something that actually improves the distance of the ball flight the average golfer is going to go for the invention instead of the fix. Kinda like choosing to take a drug to mask the problem instead of having the surgery to permanently fix the problem.
Unfortunately, there has not been a way invented to play golf without golf equipment making it impossible to play golf unless you pay the piper.
Reducing the cost of golf would be Good For Golf. Bad deals and previous unsound business management need to be amputated from the business operations in order for Country Clubs to cut their pricing to affordable rates. The cost of the R&D on all the latest gadgetry that increases the length of the ball flight has been paid for sometime now, but the golf manufacturers keep the pricing high for…what? The supply and demand economy was locked up with Bernie Madoff so that S&D excuse for why these prices stay high only places more smoke on the real problems. If Golf does not bring the cost within reach of the general public its days could be numbered and that is not good for golf.
Learning Golf Made Easier
Many of the old-timers of the PGA argue if golf was easier to play people would pay any price to play golf. I’ll leave that up to you to determine how you feel about it, but, my studies indicate that even if everyone was born to play golf they would balk at paying what they know are overly inflated prices. However, if golf was easier to learn then I will concede more people will play golf which is GOOD for Golf, but the ease of learning to play golf does not make golf affordable.
I heard the other day many in in the PGA do not want leaning golf to become simple or easy since it would put them out of business. Really? So there is a simpler way to learning to play golf? Holding back on us..aye?
I can see where if more people would play golf it would be a huge boost to the economy placing it as the number one issue to address for the survival of golf, however, when a new golfers steps into a golf retail store to price the minimum amount of golf equipment and supplies to meet the minimal standard of play, they usually go next door to Wal-Mart and invest in gerbil farming..they learn how that works easier and cheaper.
If there are methods of cutting the learning curve of playing golf down to weeks instead of years then Golf should be taught that way. Knocking down the barriers to learning the game is Good for Golf.
Putting Golf Into the America School Systems
I understand there was an effort made by the PGA to put the golf program in the America School System like it is in other countries. I have supported that effort in the past and will continue to do so through my non-profit, Screen Door Open Charity Golf.
How impacting would it be to the future of Golf if every five year old had the opportunity to pick up a golf club during their Physical Education classes at school and hit a golf ball instead of being peer pressured into asking Santa for a football helmet for Christmas so they can be like their friends at school. Yaw, that was a little backhanded but being a parent and now a grandparent, and coach for almost every sport, I can honestly tell you that NOT every kid (even here in Texas) is made to be a football player.
What type of society would we have in this country if kids were taught at an early age during the low pressure of a fun GAME the consequences of dishonesty and the importance of integrity? I ask this question since I am not sure many people in this world have thought of the answer. To me, if anything could be improved in the American way of life is in the way we get along with each other and our different ways of life and cultures. Playing golf with hundreds of different people over an entire life time eventually would change the DNA of humans to become more tolerant of others and their differences. OK, maybe golf will not change evolution, but it was worth a shot.
Giving golf a chance to continue into the future by putting the future of golf into the hands of the children of the world is GOOD for Golf. What is it going to take to expose the children of this country to golf? The parents of the future of golf have to understand the values of golf and drop their dreams of living vicariously through their children to overcome all the short comings they had in life.
Yes, I can hammer that issue because I, like a trillion other parents, am guilty of pushing my kids to do things I wanted to do when I was their age. Now I am being asked by my daughter why I never let her play golf when she was a kid..the answer..it was not part of their school program or part of my school program when I was growing up. Like the dozens of generations of working parents before me, I fell to the path of least resistance and pushed my kid to playing the sports offered at school.
It is not the elementary schools fault for not offering golf. What determines what will be offered to kids as activities at school is decided by the school boards and government regulations. As long as the advance learning institutes make their revenue from the promotions of the team sports, they will push down to the elementary level of learning the pressure to learn to play those sports so they are insured quality athletes to perpetuate their legacies. The high dollar scholarships give the parents incentive to push the kids even hard to only focus on one activity so they can receive monetary reward. But I digress.
Placing golf in the school system is very good for golf and would be rated higher in the things that are Good for Golf if the cost of providing golf in the schools was lessened.
Offer More Formats of Golf
I hear so many reason why people do not play golf and why people who play golf are leaving golf. The remarks frequently made have to do with time and the lack of it.
The statement of ‘it takes too much time to play 18 holes’ seems to be amongst the lame, but justifiable, reasons many people have for not playing golf. The other comments I get have to do with a person’s lack of time in their busy day to play golf.
Another explanation for not playing or discontinuing to play golf is in feeling the format of golf is boring. Even with all the different games that can be played and formats of competition that can be created today’s fast paced generation still looks to doing something in golf that others are not doing. If something different or new is not offered on a regular basis, then these fast trackers will move to something that is faster changing.
Change is Good for golf and offering new formats of play is the right direction. Movement amongst many golf clubs has been made to develop pricing for abbreviated rounds of golf..3, 6, 9 or 12 holes of golf are now being offered. Night golf is now becoming popular as well as Willie Nelson style golf competitions being held.
Offering a greater menu of ways to play golf is Good for Golf.
Modernizing the PGA Professional
Each time I go to play golf at a golf facility I walk amongst dozens of men and women who are eager to start their apprenticeship into the PGA. These courageous individuals truly hold in their efforts a huge part of the future of golf. Without the PGA Professional their would not be anyone to be the gatekeeper of golf.
However, over the years, the quality of training of these golf professionals has evaporated. Why? From what I see, the changes in business, economy and especially technology have left many of the swaggering highly skillful golfer golf professionals to stay in the Bobby Jones era of golf. These changes in the world outside of golf threaten the ‘Good ol Boys’ of golf to a point they are holding hostage the future of the PGA. The changes the PGA have to make would deem these leaders of golf irrelevant, thus is what is holding the PGA back from dealing with the other issues gnawing at the core of golf.
New training needs to be instigated at the apprentice level of the PGA so the change to the new way golf has to be manage can get a fresh start. More has to be taught the new members of the PGA than park carts in the barn, shagging balls on the range and folding shirts in the Pro-shop. The golf professional needs to receive extensive training on an ongoing basis on how to read and deal with people..the people who pay their salaries would be a good start.
Many of the kids that want to take on golf as their careers do not have any understanding of business operations and only are able to learn from the mistakes their boss makes just before they get fired. A more advanced approach is needed to training the front line golf professional on dealing with things as advanced as Social Media and the importance of Professional Image.
The PGA will have to look outside their brotherhood to get the help they need to rapidly catch up to the foot dragging that has been going on for almost 20 years. There are many experience business people close to the golf industry who are eager to help make that change, if the PGA would just let them. One is waving to you right now.
It is good to see and hear that the PGA has pulled the veil of denial off to now acknowledge the golf world is nearing crisis mode and needs their expertise even more than ever if golf is to survive. Golfers look up to the well dressed, well mannered business savvy golf professional to lead them to enjoying a better golf experience. The PGA getting a new attitude and image will be Good for Golf.
Tour Elites Need to Play More Golf
Wouldn’t it be great to have ‘Lefty’ come to your community and flash your way that positive smile and thumbs up he has? Wouldn’t it even be better to have all of the top tour professionals stop by to thank you for watching the tour events, for playing golf, and..golly, thanks for stopping by the sponsors store to check out their deals.
The PGA Tour really has to be at fault for the sponsors leaving the tour events. Not having the top players of the game at every event is not what the Sponsors want. They want people to come and see the top players they are paying a lot of money to support.
There just is no disputing the fact that the lack of the marquee players reduces fans interest in watching or attending the tour event. It is human nature to want to see the the competition between the Best.
It is not really the golf fans fault, but golf fans play a part in this issue as well.
Many of today’s golf fans grew up with Tiger. They saw the excitement of the New thing in golf..power, distant and magic. What they did not learn or get an understanding of before they became a fan is every one of the other tour players who went up against Tiger could play just as well, but not as flamboyant.
The new golf fans got to expect 300+ drives hit by a guy their age. Nothing or nobody else matters. So when Tiger does not show up for a tournament those fans did not see any reason to watch or attend.
What the PGA fail to do was see that change in fan attitude towards golf and place policy in place that insured that fans around the country got to see the golf profession’s best players. Not requiring the Tour Players to play a greater number of events lets the top players skip events or not play at golf courses that ‘did not fit their eye’. What that did was generate a negative force behind the traditional golf fan of not being interest in golf since the PGA did not require the player to play all tour events.
The lack of interest in these events by fans logically would cause the sponsors to have a lack of interest in sponsoring the event. The result..no event..no golf for the locals to that community to see..lose of jobs that supported the event.. all of which cause a cascading attitude by the fans of effected community towards golf. That is Not Good for Golf.
What would be Good for Golf is once a player reaches the Top 25 in the world they are required to tour the country and play golf for the fans. It would spur interest, help the local economy and would be GOOD for golf.
As you can see, these are just a few of the things golf needs to address to keep golf open to the public and to keep the golf economy viable. I am sure you have a few issues with golf that is keeping you away from playing. I would enjoy hearing about them. Let me know how I can help.