Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

An interesting email passed through my inbox yesterday from the Ontario PGA. First I ignored it, but then I though I should take a look at the propaganda email before I trashed it.

Turns out the Ontario PGA has done a deal with a company called Golf Flagstick Advertising. And yes, Golf Flagstick Advertising does just what you think it does.

Here’s a word from the ad pusher Ontario PGA:

“Golf Flagstick Advertising is yet another way for the Ontario PGA to deliver greater value to our partners,” said Ontario PGA President, Kevin Purcell.

Value, right.

Well the good news is that having ads all over your flagsticks is apparently okay with the R&A and USGA. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief:

Golf Flagstick Advertising is a new, patented product which delivers a unique opportunity for on-course sponsorship and increased brand awareness. Both the R&A and USGA have ruled that Golf Flagstick Advertising complies with the rules of golf governing the size and appearance of a golf flagstick, allowing the product to be used on golf courses world-wide.

So I’m intrigued at exactly what kind of quality course is going to embrace ads on their flagsticks. And who, exactly, is going to pull the flagstick and stop to look at the ad?

I can see it now:

Jim: Hey Bob, can you grab the flagstick?

Bob: Will do. Oh, wait a minute, there’s a great ad on here for a local Chinese joint up the road. That’s pretty cool. Exactly what I was hoping to find when we hit the 18th. Now hole this putt buddy and let’s go eat!

Oh, who am I kidding — this will probably be a huge hit with the same courses that charge $4 for a bottle of water.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The idea is pretty offensive. I think the OPGA could just charge each member an extra $$ to keep their courses free of the flag ads. What’s next, scorecards with ads? Usually the first sign that something else is wrong. I’ll bet the OPGA will only use the flag ads for their events, if any.
    “Did that flag say happy hour starts at 5:00”
    “Tear off that flag, I want the phone number”

  • Hey bob,

    You’re being a complete Dinosaur idiot on this one. Have you seen the Flag sticks???

    I had the chance to see these things up close; I was participating in the Pro-am in Scottsdale earlier this year at the FBR open. There was absolutely nothing wrong with these things.

    I trust your talents as I read your blog from time to time, but your flat out pretentious outlook on this one is both short sighted and offensive. You think your “traditional clubs” give water away for free? Not unless you’re dropping $150,000 to play there, and then, maybe.

    The world is changing, and I would bet my House on the fact that you are no different than anyone else in the golf industry, and next time you tee it up, and your Brand new 460cc Driver head, that came out of your $300 logo cart bag, is lining up to hit one down the pipes, keep in mind the at that very moment the irony involved in your viewpoint towards Golf Flagstick Advertising. The overall sense of folly you will feel will be just enough to calm you down long enough to hit er’ 300 yards down the middle.

    Keep on keepin’ on Bobby,

    Warmest Regards,


  • Flag stick advertising is offensive…no matter the size. I can choose to not put a logo cover on my driver but I cannot avoid the advertising on a flag stick. It is part of the environment.

    And yes, reasonably priced golf courses do provide free bottled water. You do not need a $150K initiation free club for this privilege.

    We are infiltrated with advertising EVERYWHERE we go. Let’s keep it away from flag sticks.

  • This is a actually very smart idea. With the range finders being made legal for use recently, the user will have zoom into the flag and see the advert on the flag stick.

    However (and assuming that the advert is on the flag stick and not the flag), I do think they need to add a ‘rotate 90 degree’ feature on their Bushnells so that no one will strain their neck trying to read the advert sideway (just ask John Daly who sprained his neck turning his head last week).

  • I have seen the flagstick advertising up close at a seminar I attended, and while some courses will take every penny they can get when it comes to advertising or any other way to make money, there has to be a point where you can offer your golfers a good product, without turning the course into a giant billboard. I would rather pay an extra $1.00 per green fee so I didn’t feel like I was in the city staring at ads all day.

    What comes next, mowing companies ads into the sides of hills, or on the fairways?

  • I have agree with Craig on this one. I think people are being very naive and simplistic. We had a charity day last June and used the flagsticks. Normally we raise around $80k for a three course event. Last year we raised almost $140k! This was because every sponsor was aware of the increased visiblity and opportunity of being on the flagstick rather than a silly tee sign that is worthless. When I think of all the sick kids we help I cant help but think that this is a brilliant idea (also the company charged me 10% of what we took through the flagstick but then gave back 60% of this fee to the charity which I found very humbling.)

    Also Mike Weir and co dont look like Nascar drivers for nothing! Presumably someone has to pay for all the prize money and I think the advertising flagsticks will address sponsor’s need for better recognition.

    Keep the blog going!

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