As he often does, Lorne Rubenstein added valuable perspective to my previous blog here, when he Tweeted this response.
— Lorne Rubenstein (@lornerubenstein) November 23, 2014
If you read the original blog, you’ll see that he’s responding to the name of a session that took place Monday at the Golf Business Canada Conference and Trade Show held in Montreal and hosted by the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada.
“Media – friend or foe,” was the name of the session led by veteran John Gordon and including NGCOA CEO Jeff Calderwood, Bob Weeks of ScoreGolf, Ana Leaird, senior vice president of PGA Tour communications, and Danny Jackson, director of golf for Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ont.
As of this writing, I haven’t heard what happened at the Montreal session, but I hope they did get across the spirit of Rubenstein’s comment, which is all about objectivity, an essential in journalism if you want to maintain credibility.
If we were to operate without objectivity, newspapers, magazines and other media outlets would be portraying golf as an industry that is without challenges, thriving the way it did back in the 1990s.
We all know that isn’t true and if we did present that image, admit it – you’d be tuning us out very quickly because you know it wouldn’t be believable. By the same token, negative stories are often seen as inflicting wounds, when actually they’re adding salt to existing wounds.
As my previous blog points out, this past summer was chock full of media reports about the state of golf. What really ignited the industry was that it wasn’t just one or two damning stories, but several, which led to the session in Montreal on Monday.
“Media reports on the golf industry this summer have been nothing short of brutally negative. This is telling our consumers that golf courses are desperate and will go to any lengths to get customers,” read the session’s outline.
“Does excessive discounting sound familiar? This negative reporting is creating an atmosphere where consumers are expecting courses to give up their green fees for nothing and discouraging anyone thinking of taking up the game that they better find a different sport as this one is in big trouble,” it continued.
Let’s be honest. Excessive discounting has been going on for years in the industry, long before any of these stories appeared, so let’s not blame the media for that, but that’s one of the challenges facing golf.
Yes, there is an oversupply of golf courses that exceeds demand. Yes, golf may be in a considerable dip in popularity and it may one day rebound as it and other sports have done over the years, but let’s face it, society is changing and other businesses/sports have to adapt.
None of this has to do with media reports, which are the most obvious target, even though they reflect the reality of the situation.
To say that isn’t meant to be negative, although many people may take it that way. On the flip side, I defy anybody to say that Rubenstein, Gordon, Weeks, me or many other writers haven’t written stories or columns that are positive about the game.
It’s called balance.
Media should not be expected to be merely a promotional tool of the golf industry, but by the same token, everything about golf is not negative, so staying on either side of the “friend/foe” fence leads to limited scope, when the media should be seeing both sides from a balanced perch atop that fence.
Great point, Lorne.
A Golf Memory Of Pat Quinn
There are two things I remember most about the Pat Quinn, who died Sunday at the age of 71, one being the lick he put on Bobby Orr, knocking out the Boston Bruin superstar with a hit that would spark inquiries today.
The other is a memory from Glen Abbey, where I was playing in Quinn’s tournament and had just pulled up to the par three in front of the clubhouse with my foursome.
Anybody who knows that hole and my game realizes that at this point, I should be reaching into my bag for a water ball. To make things worse, a crowd had gathered in front of the clubhouse.
From that crowd stepped the Big Irishman, then coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who lumbered up to us saying, “Let’s see what you guys got,” with a twinkle in his eye.
“I’ll impress you with what a big splash I’ll make,” I replied as I put the tee in the ground.
Quinn smiled as I looked across, then made what still sticks out as one of the few great shots I’ve ever made as the ball came to rest just a couple of feet from the hole.
As the rest of my group cheered, Quinn labelled me a “sandbagger,” a term he used later at dinner. It was obvious he hadn’t seen my scorecard and how the rest of the round had gone, outside the one shot that he witnessed.
He apparently didn’t even notice that I missed the birdie putt and came away with par on that hole.
I’m sure it’s a shot that he forgot not long afterwards, but one that sticks in my mind to this day.
Pat Quinn thought I was a sandbagger. Strangely enough, I’m okay with that.
Rest in peace big guy.
Tuck’s Back Home
On a happier note, I got a phone call from Keith Tucker the other day and I’m happy to report that he’s sounding as feisty as ever after being cooped up in a Montreal hospital recently after some seizures.
They’re still keeping an eye on Tucker and he won’t be able to drive until February, but despite that, appears headed in the right direction.