So Much Talk; So Little Do

Average: 2 (1 vote)

 We continue to talk about the growth of the game and how we can add players, rounds, and rate to the business each and every day.  Although I can see and hear these conversations, the follow-up never seems to be as large as the discussion.  The growth of the game; will it happen, can it happen?  Every person I know, seems to hold an opinion as to this notion.  I too, have an opinion, one drawn more from the potential newcomers then from the people holding court over this issue.

 I absolutely believe we can grow the game.  I believe it because I have seen it.  We have the tools, the time, and the professionals.  We need the will and the stick-to-itiveness to execute.  It is important, I believe, to move ahead, jump in, and start a program at your facility.  Great planning and a program are not necessary as we have Get Golf Ready at your fingertips.  This program is working today, so seek it out and build it for your golf fans.

 Here are the 5 High Fives for Growth;

  • Locate the detail for the Get Golf Ready program and implement it or use it as a base model
  • Work with your instructors to schedule a program, using social media, this month.  Remember, it does not need to be great; it needs to be fun, interesting, effective, rewarding, and with long-reaching practices
  • Understand that it begins with comfort!  Comfort for your facility, the surroundings, the people, and then the process of learning
  • Build fun into every session.  Build fun and recognition for every "good" shot, and for every new golfer.  The team is working to create a life-long fan not a 6 week revenue stream
  • Know that a program to be truly effective should be far reaching in thought, planning, and practice.  Work to build a two year program which starts with understanding the facility and grows into a program that can create great fans for the game

Golf programs need not be perfect.  They, however, do need to understand the people proposition and make certain to recognize and reward both golfer and teacher for every try, near success, and real success.  Golf can grow.  There is interest; the number is between 27 and 90 million people in the US.  Let's not get bogged down in those numbers.  Let's start with one.  We can do this!


I couldn't agree more, Jack. There IS a lot of "talk" about growing the game (and not much else). Two of my friends and I are trying to do our part, however. In the past two months, Golf Digest and GolfWeek have written articles about our passion project that's intended to help grow the game by leveraging the power of social networking and mobile technology. We created a free website and iPhone app that makes it easy for golfers to coordinate their day-to-day golf plans with friends and connect with other compatible playing partners in their local area. The idea is that if we can make it easier for people to invite friends to fill their foursomes and pair-up with other compatible playing partners, more golf will be played in the U.S. You can think of the service as a cross between eVite and for golfers. Enjoy!

Jack - your are right about a lot of talk and very little action on growing the game of golf. Tradition is a very important aspect of the game but we can't let tradition impede our growth. If we fail to innovate the game will disintegrate. We can all agree that if people are talking about their golf experiences then they are still probably playing the game. We have been changing the game of golf for the last 2 years at Boxgroove. Jack Crittenden had a post a couple of days ago about How many private courses need to close.....we don't think many need to close. They need to change how they get new members. There are over 16 million avid golfers that play 8 or more rounds of golf that don't belong to a private club. This is the pool they need to tap. If this pool of golfers can experience playing a course they normally could not play they will stay in the game. The private clubs will get nice exposure and the golfer will get new memories.... -McRedmond CEO/Founder

GROWING THE GAME - NOT HAPPENING! I'm a 50-year golf business person. In the early days (50's 60' 70's and early 80's) many of us ran learn-to play-golf programs (every spring in the snow belt). We targeted the man/woman/child in the street. We learned to get them playing as soon as possible. We (I) also learned "Never start the first lesson with the grip!". To find new golf players we went outside the industry. We didn't advertise our learning programs on the sports pages. We didn't advertise for new golfers on golf programs, because non-golfers were not likely reading, watching, or listening to golf. In fact, I cringe when I see promotional ads for new golf players on TV - only on tour events. I believe I have the authority to say my piece, because I personally started thousands of people into golf in and around Toronto, Ontario. In my experience, 99% of them did not own golf clubs when they joined our learn to play golf programs. Another thing we should see happen is to get the National Golf Foundation back to its original MO - Growing the Game - the way they saved golf from oblivion back in the 1930's. I agree there are millions out there who would take up golf. What an amazing economy for the world of golf. But they are being ignored. I like 'Get Golf Ready' - except they need to market the program outside the world of golf. Promoting on golf events on TV, or golf publications is ignoring the rest of the world. They need to get to the 90% of the people out there who do not play golf. Try advertising on non-golf sports events like NBA, NFL, MLB, or NHL games. To get to mom and the kids, advertise on mid day TV shows that mother watches, like Oprah. I'm not too optimistic about the future of golf at this time. I'm watching course after course falling to their bankers, growing in, or selling for 20-cents on the dollar. The fact is, the average age of golf players goes up a year every year, because young people are not covering the attrition rate. There's a mentality in an industry made up of many extremely intelligent people who cannot seem to address where the golf business is headed. For the game of golf itself, if the business is strong, so will the game be strong. I'm not seeing it. Mike

GROWING THE GAME - HAPPENING! Distressed full-sized course purchased from bank sale. Owners take progressive approach, retrofit original 18-hole 6500 yds. course into "three modified 9's" and institute use of new golf ball matching adjusted course length. Now selling alternative Fun Golf Concept to golfers & non-golfers alike. Smack daddy, what do ya know, course jamed. "Less Is More Approach" to golf, an easy & economical way to get more playing the game. - Analyze the situation - Maintain the basics - Address new cultural demands - Institute the program

Add new comment

If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!