There is no doubt golf has seen its better days. Even before the economy started to tank golf was struggling to bring more people into the game. The issues people have with golf are many which now includes the burden of economic issues. That is very unfortunate since Golf is a really good stress reliever and there is a LOT of stress in these times that playing golf could relieve.
I am certain there are many things people inside and outside of golf can do to bring golf back to being the activity you play for a Lifetime.
Recently I took the opportunity to meet with golfers online and offline to ask…What do you see Would Really Be Good for Golf?
Here are a few of the answers I have noted:
Reduce the Learning Curve for Golf
All agree, golf may not be for everyone, but for those who see golf’s benefits to their personal and professional lives know learning the game in a timely manor can be very frustrating.
From this group 65% taught themselves to play. As a result, many of them give up playing golf and an even larger number of those who give it up developed an anti-golf attitude towards golf due to them not being able to learn to hit the ball like the Pro’s.
Yes, part of that attitude could be contributed to how they were brought up to be overly competitive in sports and only strive to play at the skill level of a professional for that sport. This nurtures their feelings that if they can’t win or learn something right away it is not worth the time. That then, in many cases, becomes part of their campaign against golf as being a waste of time…worthless activity..something only a fool would play.
The suggestion was made to shorten the learning curve for golf by eliminating the intimidation factors that surround learning golf. Those factors where all time and cost related. The cost of equipment…the cost of lessons and the length of time it takes to learn to hit the golf ball..all were sited as why most people bail on learning to play golf.
The ‘What Would Really Be Good for Golf’ suggestion was to offer ‘Trial Days’(or weeks) at golf clubs where the golf equipment and instruction is offered at no costs so people can take sometime to see if golf is what they want to do. That way, they at least get a good taste of golf and start out on a good foot on learning to play golf.
Hummmm, sounds simple enough. Is that good for golf?
Address the Issue of Slow Play
For those who were well passed the learning part of golf and now are out playing the game what hits them next is the Pace of Play. I have been running into a number of long time golfers who have given up the playing golf due to the time it takes to play 18 holes. Yes, I know of a few who probably needed to give it up anyway since they were probably part of that 65% who were not interested in taking a lesson to improve their skills. Not playing well really can effect the amount of time it takes to play the game.
However, there are those who have above average golf skills who are also frustrated with the time it takes to play a round of golf. Their frustrations is not on their skill level, but the skill levels of those in front of them or towards the golf course lack of motivation to manage the number of people they put on the golf course.
There were a number of issues mentioned that causes slow play. Most of them related to player skill level matching the golf course’s difficulty. Even the affect of the Professional Tour player’s pace of play has on how novice golfer feel they should emulate.
The majority reviewed agreed that beginner golfers have as much right to the tee times as scratch golfers. It is how the golf facilities manage the different levels of skill that is sited as a major issue for slow play. With golf facilities strapped to make as much money each day from tee times the ‘Turning of the Head’ to the slow play issue seems to be their answer to the problem.
How many times have you played behind a group, or individual in a group, who was not skillful enough to be playing from the Back Tees? This was the number one issue mentioned during my review that caused the biggest pace of play concern. Others were, Cart Path Only golf courses, Too many Hazards, Rough too deep, Allowing Ball Hawking (people who play just to search for balls in the creeks and woods)…
The ‘What Would Really Be Good for Golf’ suggestion made was to have a Testing System for golfers to take to determine their skill level and what time and tees they can play the golf course. Yes, this sounded a little controversial on the surface, but in a group discussion seemed to be accepted by at least 90% of the people reviewed.
The downfalls to this testing were few and the benefits were many. Yes, the 3 Hole, 6 Hole, 12 Hole golf course design all came up as what also would eliminating slow play, but if a person still can’t hit the ball 100yds, it really didn’t matter how many holes they played..they were going to effect the pace of play. Overall, the testing did sound to be good for golf..is it?
Make Golf Accessible to School Kids
In all reviews everyone agreed the issues with golf today can ultimately be overcome by making golf more accessible to the youth of today. Learning good golf skills at an early age has proven to be carried on through a person’s life. Still, in over 85% of the people reviewed, access to playing golf for them was not available until they became adults.
The vast majority of the people I talked to felt the issues golf is dealing with today is a direct result of the people playing golf today not getting the fundamentals of golf taught to them at an early age. The lack of acceptance of golf into society or into culture today is partly due to most people are brought up on a huge dose of Team Sports and the attitudes that go along with team sports are conflicting with the attitude for golf.
The ‘What Would Really Be Goof for Golf’ suggestion was to offer golf in the elementary levels of public schools. True, it takes a lot of real estate to play golf, but with technology today, golf can now be simulated in the space of a closest. Hummm..make sense to me..how about you?
As you can see, there are some very good, and positive, ideas on what could help golf be more than it is today. Making golf more interesting, easier to play and played in a timely manor will make Golf more appealing to many more people. With more people playing golf the better the golf economy will become which will secure its future for generations to come. I encourage more ideas to be discussed. Hopefully these ideas will get to the people who make them happen..Oh, Wait! We are the people who can make it happen..lets get after it.
Let me know how I can help.