If you are a regular reader of this blog or if joining, welcome, but on occasion I do write about something different than college basketball. Please allow me to do so today.
Of course my two passions in sports are basketball and golf. I do not play basketball, when I do get the rare occasion to play golf anymore, it is evident right away I play poorly. But it never deters my love of both games. I love the business side of both, sometimes as much as the action itself.
And speaking of golf, I am worried about its future. And I mean really worried.
Never to be one for heavy stats, there is one telling statistic about golf that everyone needs to know.
For every golfer who enters the game, there is 1.8 people leaving. A telling story about the state of the game.
The two major reasons that people quit golf, 1) Play is too slow and it takes up too much time 2) There are not that many places where a person can learn to play the game (learning centers, driving ranges and par 3s).
With all this said, I personally have been saying, screaming and telling anyone on a street corner that will listen, THERE IS NO TRUE SPOKESPERSON FOR GOLF THAT ALL PEOPLE CAN RELATE TOO. It it is that simple.
It might surprise people, while Tiger Woods brought lots of new eyeballs to golf, he barely made a dent in people wanting to play the game. And that is ok, it is not Woods' responsibility to do as such.
So who is responsible for promoting the game? You would have to think that the United State Golf Association would be the leaders. An organization that everyone use to respect and even revere, has now turned into a political machine, which seems to be headed into the wrong direction under its present leadership. (I need to give no greater example of what I just said, than the USGA choice to give their premier event, the US OPEN to Chambers Bay, passing over Pumpkin Ridge. A complete political decision, which also is a complete joke).
The PGA of America tries, but they are a stale organization which seems to be stuck in mud, kind like "we have done things for 50 years like this and we are not going to change" theory.
So where does this leave us. It in my opinion leaves us in dire straits and more importantly we are in danger of losing a whole generation of golf players of which we will never be able to recover.
Perhaps I and a handful of others are the only ones that care, but I am never going to stop trying to tell people what a great game golf is and what fun everyone will have playing the game. It is a game you can easily play at 7 years of age and at 90 years of age. And as I often preach, it is truly a game of honor. What other sport can you think of that the player polices their own game, as you do in golf, often calling penalties on yourself, when no one else would even know you broke the rules.
Do I have solutions? I do have one. If you are a golfer, take someone out course or driving range, even if they just watch who has never played before. Keep talking about the game to your friends when you get a chance and keep promoting it every chance you can get.
To save the game, it is going to take the players who love the game to do it on an individual basis, it for sure it not going to come from organizations that are suppose to do this work, they have failed in this area and just do not get it. Sometimes it takes a block by block operation to make things better and this is how we have to look at golf, if it is going to survive as a sport.
Note to golf courses as well. Put some teeth into policing slow play, which has been an ongoing issue with golf for years. Quit worrying about alienating one player, who is affecting many. Do not be afraid to challenge the slow player, tell them to get moving and if they object, tell them they are not welcome back on your property. It is all about fun and business.
Finally, with all this said, there is hope. It is not too late. There is a reason that more endangered species are being taken off the list than, one coming on the list. That has happened do to some great work by individuals, not organizations or governing bodies. I am sick of hearing about golf summits, slogans, groups who say they want to promote the game. They are not getting the job done.
The job needs to get done by individuals. We still can save this precious game, but time is running out. We need to move now, not tomorrow. I am never going to give up and if you are a golfer, please do not give up and start promoting the game, to everyone you see and know. We can change the culture and feeling about golf, it just is going to take work. START TODAY.
emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, please follow on twitter @wchoops