Golf is dying - Is this how we can save it?
Do you care about Golf? Do you want to see your children and grandchildren enjoy the game that you love so much? Well things are going to have to change. That is the message coming out of an industry struggling to find it's feet in a world that offers a multitude of cheap entertainment at your fingertips.
Golf is a game in decline, there is no denying it. The amount of people playing the game is down, rounds are down and the industry is laying off staff in alarming numbers. So what can we do to fix it?
I have been a member of a club for 20+ years and I would consider myself a traditionalist. I love golf as it is, the challenges, frustrations and huge rewards that it brings, however it is becoming clear that the industry is struggling. Dicks sporting goods, a huge US Golf retailer recently laid off it's entire PGA workforce, reportedly 500 staff. A reaction to a hardware industry that is facing huge problems. Too much inventory and not enough customers are leading to slashed prices and little or no margin.
It was also reported this week that TaylorMade adidas Golf have cut their staff by 15%, specifically in restructuring the Adams Golf arm of it's business. These are huge job losses and a massive warning sign that things are not well in the game.
So what needs to change? There is one idea that has been gaining momentum over the past few months; I recently spent 40 mins on a pitch and putt in Cambridgeshire, it had, close your ears...bigger holes! Shock, horror! Surely it would be boring, too easy from a plus figured golfer?! Well I had a blast. It was quick and a lot of fun! The bigger holes directly address some of golf's biggest issues - Time and difficulty. Don't get me wrong, it is not something that I would like to see at every golf course, but can we not add these bigger cups to all our pitch and putts? Maybe some of the nations 9 hole courses would also benefit.
Golf needs to be fun and exciting, we need to capture players at their first try of the game. The game then needs to nurture new found players. The game needs feeder courses, a ladder of progression to a 18 hole course with small cups. That, for me is future and one we must look to sooner rather than later.
I am not the only one to think that bigger cups work, so does TaylorMade CEO, Mark King and he is heading a new campaign using 15" holes in the United States called HackGolf:
So what do think? What do we have to do to save our game? Would you change anything at all? Are bigger cups the answer. Should we create 'feeder courses/centres'? Please comment below and let us know, your opinion matters, it sounds melodramatic, but it is only you, the current golfer that can save the game!
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