Since I posted this on the Fourth of July, I’m not late in extending a happy Independence Day greeting to the considerable number of Americans who regularly click on GNN with its Canadian content.
I’ve always found that the American golfing community takes a keen interest in Canadian golf, despite those who accuse the U.S. of having blinders on in its focus on its own product.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, two-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw went out of his way to request that I say hello to fellow scribe Lorne Rubenstein during a driving range chat 12 or 13 years ago.
I also recall Tinsley Penick, son of the legendary Harvey Penick, who was Crenshaw’s mentor, talking about how his dad thought the late George Knudson had one of the sweetest swings of all time.
Mike Weir is a regular topic of conversation when Americans encounter Canadians and so is legendary ball-striker Moe Norman.
I find that golf is golf with many Americans who follow and work within the game and it doesn’t matter if someone is branded with a maple leaf or stars and stripes.
I’ve played 16 rounds in the U.S. this year in places such as Hawaii, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Florida and Delaware and it’s always struck me how American golf courses make visitors feel like they’re regulars and they do it genuinely, not as if that friendliness is out of a training manual.
Among sweet memories within the industry are visits to manufacturers’ head offices in places such as Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Fort Worth, Tex., and Carlsbad, Ca., where we’ve been welcomed from company CEOs/presidents, who recognize the importance of the Canadian market.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I look forward to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando every year, at least partly because it offer the opportunity to catch up with American friends who I only get a chance to e-mail or phone at other times of the year.
In Canada, we’ve had our fair share of challenges the past few years, but most of us on this side of the border acknowledge those challenges have been intensified in the U.S., one main factor being economic conditions.
As it is in Canada, adjustments have been made and more will likely come, but customer service and their welcoming nature towards visitors from inside and outside their borders are solid foundations for rebuilding.
A healthy industry is good for everybody involved in golf and certainly the synergies are strong north and south of the border. For that, I’m happy and in the spirit in which we celebrated Canada Day a few short days ago, we wish you a Happy Fourth of July.