The golf industry's message isn’t getting out

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Boy, Jim Singerling was right. The CEO of the Club Managers Association hit the nail on the head as a speaker at the recent Golf Inc. Conference at the World Golf Village when he urged the industry to make a greater effort to get its message out to the 90 percent of the country that doesn’t play golf.
The timeliness of his comments were underscored by the appearance of an offensive column that appeared earlier this month in USA TODAY, written by Robert Lipsyte. Its basic theme was the stereotype we’ve heard before: “Golf is a sport for greedy, rich, white males.” It did offer one novel twist on that tiresome canard, though, throwing in the extra accusation that golf is one of the reasons our country is in this current economic fix.
Still, the capper on this 880-word screed was this incredibly wrong-headed passage:
Golf is an environmental nightmare, a waste of space, of fertilizer, of water. Think of the vegetables that could be grown on those useless lawns, bathed in pesticides to keep those fairways looking unnaturally like carpeting. Think of the lovely meadows, walking trails, wildlife sanctuaries.
Now maybe Mr. Lipsyte’s observations were made with a bit of tongue in cheek, but this attitude is all too reflective of how many Americans think of the game. The golf industry has never really managed to communicate its positive economic and environmental message to the general population.

Clearly, those in the golf industry have their work cut out for them. What can individual operators do to let people who don’t play the game know that golf courses are good stewards of the environment? And how can we make them aware of the fact that golf provides jobs and stimulates the local economy in a way that benefits the entire community? 

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