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How to Solve Golf's Biggest Problems

By: | Fri 22 Mar 2024

It seems pretty obvious that the world of golf faces some serious challenges. Of course there are lots of things to be optimistic about but there is also much we should be concerned about.

There are no easy solutions but if somebody gave me a magic wand, these are the problems I would be looking to address.

The Rift

Don’t shoot me, but I don’t like LIV Golf. I wish it had never happened. But it did. This is my opinion and I respect the fact that there are plenty of people who don’t agree with me. And the very fact that it has divided opinion in the way it has simply confirms that we need to find a solution to sort this out once and for all.

There has been talk since June last year of a merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf. But little progress seems to have been made. I suspect that one of the main sticking points is the ridiculous notion that players who remained loyal to the PGA Tour should be financially rewarded for doing so. You what? Isn’t that what prize money is all about? Isn’t that what all these contrived bonus pools have been set up for? 

Behave yourselves boys. You are golfers. You chase a little ball around the world. Nothing you do or achieve has any impact on the world. Some of you look like you would rather be anywhere else, but you earn a fabulous living and play the best golf courses on the planet.

A merger of some description has to happen at some point because right-minded golf fans are fed up to the back teeth of talking about or reading about the rift. And please, stop obsessing about the money. 

LIV is backed by Saudi money and that offends many people but let’s not pretend that this is new to golf - or any other sport, for that matter. It’s the scale of the sums involved that has taken our breath away. 


Let’s just get the merger done. If LIV is to continue to exist let’s open up their tournaments to PGA Tour and DP World Tour players, extend the size of their fields, extend the format to 72 holes and get world ranking points awarded. And end all talk of PGA Tour golfers being given even more money for not joining LIV! They are already plenty wealthy enough. Viktor Hovland was recently quoted as saying that he doesn’t play for there money anyway. But that is easy to say when you have tens of millions of dollars sitting in your bank account. We have all had enough talk about the obscene amounts of money sloshing around the professional game. Let’s just get back to playing the sport. Period.

Distance Debate

There are plans to restrict the distance the golf ball travels. I am all for doing whatever it takes to reduce the distance the world’s leading players hit the ball but leave things as they are for us poor club golfers. We hit the ball no further than we ever have so I am using my magic wand to leave well alone for us. When all is said and done, it is club golfers who are the lifeblood of the game - and it is difficult enough as it is without providing us with a golf ball that doesn’t travel as far as the ones we are currently using. In fact, I am almost tempted to tell the golf-ball manufacturers to come up with a product for club golfers that flies even further. But I have resisted that for now!

Golfer Distance

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Growing The Game

I want to see golf growing in inner city areas. Much progress has been made in this area in the United States, but the UK lags way behind. Let’s use my magic wand to find a way of ensuring that second-hand and trade-in clubs find their way into schools in deprived areas. We should be getting the likes of American Golf involved. Golf is still seen by many as an elitist sport and the harsh reality is that this does remain the case. Most British footballers were born into working-class families. That is not the case with golf. 

I want to see change here and I do not believe it is difficult to achieve. The market is awash with used clubs that nobody wants. The starting point is to get those items into schools. But that is only the starting point. We need to find a way to get club pros in there too, to provide proper tuition.

But that is no good at all unless the youngsters involved in any such project have somewhere to play. And that is where we need to get golf courses on board. I am waving my magic wand and offering every boy and girl under the age of 16 access to free golf. Another wave of my wand sees free group tuition at driving ranges all around the country, again for every boy and girl aged 16 and under.

This is how we get growth within the game and perhaps even find future superstars who would not otherwise have had a chance to take up golf.

Joining Fees

Nobody will ever convince me that there is any justification whatsoever for golf clubs who already charge members in excess of £1,000 a year also demanding that new members have to fork out even more money to pay a one-off joining fee. I would scrap them. The alternative is that where a club wants, say, a £500 joining fee that new members be given a card with £500 credit to be spent at the club.

Club Subscriptions

Recent Golfshake surveys have demonstrated that rising golf club fees are a source of serious concern for most members. So I am waving my wand again to introduce three things: 1) Annual subscriptions that NEVER increase by more than the rate of inflation, 2) Every golf club sends out a detailed breakdown of precisely why their fees are going up, 3) Discounts for existing members based on how often the course was closed during the previous 12 months.


(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Rory's Grand Slam

This is the one I take the most pleasure from. I wave my magic wand in April, on the eve of the 2024 Masters at Augusta. And Rory McIlroy arrives on the first tee surrounded by an aura of calm. He splits the opening fairway with his drive, hits his approach to three feet and is off and running with a birdie three. He makes serene progress and signs for a 67. He follows it with a 69, is a couple of shots off the lead and has put all memories of 2023’s disastrous missed cut behind him. Moving day sees the Northern Irishman fire a flawless round of 65 to take a four-shot lead ahead of world number one Scottie Scheffler. In his media interviews he is reminded of the 2011 Masters when he blew a four-shot lead. “I am a different golfer this time,” he says. He once again opens with a birdie, reaches the turn in 34, birdies the 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th and closes with a birdie on the 18th to come home in 31. He wins The Masters by seven shots and - finally - completes the Career Grand Slam. His winning total of 266, 22 under par, is also a record. You can thank me later Rory! 

Tale of The Tiger

Sorry Tiger, but seeing you win another major is just too far-fetched. However, I am using my super-powers to allow you to finally win your 83rd PGA Tour title. After being tied with Sam Snead for so long, Tiger lands The Memorial in front of the great Jack Nicklaus and has now won more PGA Tour titles than any other golfer in the history of the sport. 

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