The PGA Show in Florida could have hosted an interesting discussion about the state of the game of golf — that is if the participants weren’t too busy lauding each other with platitudes. Most of the comments start with, “Let me tell you Tim just how great the PGA Tour is….” It is like financial analysts telling companies, “Great quarter guys,” after the company in question cuts 10,000 jobs.
Apparently, according to the transcript, which can be found here, golf is in perfect shape, the USGA has done a great job and the PGA Tour’s involvement with First Tee is solving all the issues of having too many courses and not enough golfers.
How has the USGA helped golf? Apparently by hosting championships like the US Open, the Ams etc. — which involve a grand total of 40,000 people. Now there’s a number that will grow golf.
The panel also discussed getting more women involved in the game — though they seem to ignore that women are also fleeing from the sport. Interesting that Dana Garvey, head of Troon Golf, says women have a big impact on their spouse’s decision to join a private club. Also interesting to note that private clubs across North America are struggling to come to terms with accepting families as opposed to individuals. That’s how the game of golf will grow.
Note that Tim Finchem makes on equipment, lauding the USGA for all they’ve done:
“But what we know and what we assume today, because of what the USGA has accomplished, equipment changes will not have a significant impact over the next 10 years in generating additional business.”
What has the USGA accomplished? They’ve really gotten behind the ball issue.
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Having not read the transcript, I have to wonder if the industry bothers to analyze why people are fleeing the sport. To solve a problem one must get to the root of the cause rather than address the symptoms. Are they simply proceeding based on arrogant assumptions?
Golf is a difficult game. Is the instant gratification mentality of our society a barrier to growth? Are the rules to demanding for the recreational golfer? Should the industry invest in providing instruction in swing methods easier for the non athlete to quickly become proficient?
Golf is a game built on many many years of tradition. Perhaps the USGA and the PGA need to take a deep swallow and realize some things must change, no matter how much it hurts, for the good of the game.