Most of the avid golfers around the world never envisioned they would never see the day Tiger Woods would not be in the top ten players in the world. Most country clubs and golf clubs around the country felt they would never see day when their club’s memberships would not be full and the golf courses packed. But…that day has come and the situation is probably worse than the golf industry expected.
So, where is Golf going? What does Golf have to change right now to regain the interest in golf is waning?
There is no denying Golf has seen its better days. The probability of Golf gaining back its luster established in the 90’s is low, if non-existent. Growing the game of golf in today’s apprehensive global economy will be a very difficult. Fortunately, Golf will survive! However, to do so, many things are going to have to change.
Those of use who are passionately dedicated to the game of golf will persevere no matter what the situation. Why? Because Golfers know there is more to Golf than just appearing to be a frivolous waste of time?
For Golf to become again of interest to the general public naturally the economy will have to improve. However, more has to change in the golf industry to keep the interest of those who are currently playing the game. Many of the changes needing to be made in Golf will follow the natural progressions of how the world socializes today while others changes will be more related to pure innovations.
One thing is for sure, Golf will change. How? Lets look at a few of the possible ways Golf will change.
Movers and Shakers
What Golf, and the powers of being for the game of Golf, should realize is they will need to embrace the energy the people near the grass roots of golf generate. The everyday golfers will be who keeps Golf, and all its virtues, in the forefront of other golfers on a daily bases. The old guard of Golf will need to recognized the new spokespeople for Golf.
There is a need for more than the scores and the interviews from the pros of the game. Everyday golfers will be demanding more reality to what is going on in Golf and not the hype PR Firms feel should be placed on the game of golf to make a sponsor look good. The current mainstream of golf media will have to change their thinking and open up their approach to marketing Golf to include those who are on the bottom run of golf promotion.
As the rusted mantel of the traditional pro golfer’s celebrity flakes away, the grass root golfers will lead the way in promoting golf online and will become the next Movers-n-Shakers of Golf.
Online Golfers To Take Center Stage
The golf industry will have to retreat back on their push to capture the online golfer and reach out to the people who cater to the Grass Roots of Golf. Golf’s proponents like Danielle Tucker, radio talk-show host who promotes golf globally through her The Golf Club Talk Show radio program, will eventually be seen by many as the new mainstream media for golfers who are looking for real life, everyday information from the real golfers of the world.
The world of Golf Bloggers and the many online grassroot golf icons like Tony Korologos from HookedOnGolf.com, Kristen Williams of TheGolfChick.com and Patricia Hannigan of TheGolfGirl.blogspot.com will become equal in popularity as many of the today’s traditional golf journalist like Ryan Ballengee, Jason Sobel, Stephanie Wei and Ron Sirak.
New Ways to Learn to Play
The teaching of golf will shift to the golf professionals who really are out to make a difference more than branding their image as the next Hank Haney. The interest golfers have in improving their golf skills will be moved forward in the evolution of a Golfer’s beginning. In order for Golf to secure players in the future golf lesson need to be proved golfers at the entry points instead of obtaining golf lessons after enduring the misery bad golf skills dish out. Treating golf lessons like going to a Doctor will have to stop…we all know how we feel about needing to go to the Doctor.
Those teachers who reach out and touch ‘the person’ first before teaching the mechanics of Golf will be the golf instructors who lead this change. Those who continue down the path of self promotion online in hopes of gaining grander amongst the grass roots of golfers will be placed on the dusty shelf with the Sham-WOW promotions.
In order for Golf to return to being the ‘Go-To’ activity for active men and women the teaching of the game will need to be included in purchase of the equipment needed to play. The new experience of playing Golf should begin with instruction on how to play. That learning experience of playing golf should be similar to learning to drive a car…someone has to show you how to drive before you are placed on the road..why not be given lesson in golf before being placed on the golf course?
New Place to Play Golf
Out in the offline world of private Country Clubs, who previously lived in denial believing their membership was recession proof, they will finally break under the pressure of the need to becoming a place their members can use to exclusively network with their online connections while playing affordable,faster paced, versions of Golf. Golf clubs will have to move into the 21st century and place more importance on Social Medial while maintaining a more personal approach to keeping in touch with their members.
Those private country clubs who fill their membership roster will be the clubs who have dedicated adequate staffing to effectively maintain a promenade presence in all relevant social networks. The private club online marketing experience will be more than setting up a Twitter account and hiring a PR Firm to periodically post dribble about the club. Successful clubs will have constant monitoring of online events and establishing an online rapport that generates favorable buzz about the club’s purpose.
Golf Resorts will staff experienced business golf event coordinators who will instead of waiting for conferences to use their facilities for golf events will produce their own events, which offer golfers a reason to travel to partake in the facilities amenities. More focus on catering to the business golfer will work towards the resorts to becoming Business Golf mainstays for businesses who grasp the benefits of business golf events.
The benefits of the golf resort experience will mirror what the successful private country clubs offer and will offer golfers frequent player packages they cannot turn down. Golf resorts will become part of the New Places to Play Golf.
Nothing Remains the Same
Of course the overall cost of playing golf will need to become affordable in order for there to be any resurgence to golf’s popularity. Naturally, the traditions of golf will have to remain the same but the costs of Golf will need to be better controlled. To reduce costs many things currently separated by industries in golf will need to be combined. Things like:
- Quality golf equipment and innovative golf instruction being provided in the start-up costs for a beginner golfer.
- Golf skills testing for admission to private country clubs so appropriate membership level can be offered.
- Golf Resorts partnering with airlines to offer incentives to business golfers to participate in the resorts business golf programs.
These are just a few of the things Golf and the Golf industry should, could and will change to again gain prominence in people’s lives. One can only hope Golf is thinking in this direction. If not then Golf stands to lose more than the 2 millions golfers it has lost in the last two years.
Let me know how I can help.