When the pandemic has been defeated, what will excite you most – heading to your club for a game with your pals or watching a pro tournament on TV?
Exceptional skill deserves our attention and admiration, but it really only inspires other potentially talented people to take up the sport. The vast majority of golfers have modest ambitions. More club golfers have never attended a professional golf tournament than those who have. The ability to play golf (or any sport, for that matter) at a high level should not bestow obscene wealth, the privileges of royalty or revered wisdom on a few thousand professionals at the expense of everyone else.
One example of an ‘entitled attitude’ is the PGA Tour’s purchase of one million Covid-19 test kits. Colin Montgomerie was quite right to ‘slam’ it and say the kits should be going to frontline health workers first. As for the planned rerun of the Woods-Mickleson TV Match, I’d be more impressed if they were putting up their own money and not playing for somebody else’s.
There are some connections between the recreational and the professional game that are mutually beneficial, but to allow the professional golf associations to set the rules and dictate the direction of the sport is problematic at best.
The game of golf and the “golf industry” are different things. In ‘industrial eyes’ golfers exist to be exploited to the nth degree at every available opportunity. The ‘industry of golf’ may claim to be ‘struggling’ but that is only because it’s not making the large profits demanded by its shareholders who care not a fig about anything apart from their own bottom lines. While, there is nothing wrong with buying and selling new equipment, ‘conning’ golfers into thinking that every new driver that comes on the market will magically provide an extra 15-yards of extra distance is marketing nonsense.
Golf for 90% of its participants is played for ‘fresh air, exercise and sociable fun’. If somebody doesn’t like working on his game or, care if they are improving or not – so what?
Golf has grown in popularity to some extent because of TV but golf on TV has its drawbacks. It has caused the humble hacker to ape the slowpoke antics of tour players as well as influencing the undue lengthening of courses and the proliferation of ‘too fast’ greens.
There is a growing consensus that golf needs to change and grow to ensure its long-term survival, but core traditionalists who have played the game all of their lives do not care if the game changes or is not mainstream and doesn’t grow. They do not care if golf is a minority pastime either.
While everyone likes to see kids playing golf, they were never at its core. The old saying that ‘golf is an old man’s game’ has a ring of truth to it. Statements that if we don’t pay attention to the younger generation the game might disappear are nonsense. Golf was always a sport for mature people. However, where golf HAS fallen down badly and shot itself in the foot by not being more accommodating towards women.
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