That was a lively discussion we had about golf course rankings last week, but let’s switch gears and get industry feedback on how future generations will look at this era in the game. What will be our legacy among those coming into the industry behind us?
At this point in time, it may not be complimentary, perhaps bordering on irresponsible.
What prompted this question is a recent GNN Poll that asked `Do golf’s traditions get in the way of growing the game?’ Among respondents, 61 per cent said yes and 39 per cent said no.
To those who said yes, the question is what do you plan to do about it? To those who say no, can we assume you’re happy with the status quo despite a rapidly changing population that may eventually view golf as a fringe sport that they’re not familiar with or can’t afford to play?
That could very well be the scenario faced by future generations. In that respect, golf may be similar to the environment in that we known there are problems, but are we doing enough quickly enough to allow our kids to enjoy the outdoors the way we have and perhaps took for granted?
If the future isn’t enough of a motivation in the golf industry, some changes will boost our business right now. Michael Schurman, a wise and learned man within the industry, brought up a good point when he commented on a recent blog of mine in which I referred to junior as the future of the game.
Schurman had another take.
“You continue to refer to Juniors as the ‘future of the game’. When will you realize that Junior Golfers are not a ‘future’ market, they are a ‘current’ market,” he wrote.
You can read his entire comment at the bottom of the blog by clicking here.
Schurman is correct.
Not only is junior golf a revenue source now, but if we break a link of children playing the game as their parents did, we also end a chain that would see today’s kids pass the game along when they started their families, so the time to act is now in order to keep the family tradition aspect of golf alive.
Schurman points out that some golf courses do incredibly well with their emphasis on juniors, while others talk out both sides of their mouths on the topic. There are programs such as Golf Canada’s Golf In Schools and CN Future Links and the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Take A Kid to the Course Week, but it’s all about regular access to the golf course and that begins at the grassroots level.
What do you think?
Is golf, in general, doing enough to keep juniors for the good of the game now and in the future? This issue goes beyond access to the golf course, but do juniors feel stifled by the strict dress codes at some courses and does that turn them off the game?
Have we done enough to welcome and keep women and ethnic groups in the game? These are topics we’ve dealt with in the past, but will we do anything about them going forward, so the legacy of this generation is action, not apathy?
In some areas in Canada where the saturation point has been reached in number of golf courses, there are more than enough tee times available to accommodate golfers of any age, gender or ethnic background.
The number of golf courses in those oversaturated areas may also leave the future impression that this generation was motivated by greed instead of good of the game, even though there was nothing the industry could do to stop private enterprise.
Fair or not, the people who will formulate their opinion of this generation just started back to elementary/high school and have a way to go before becoming decision-makers within the golf industry. Will they have a positive or impression of this generation when they get there?
Or will they think our talk about good of the game was actually a disguise for what was actually good for us as individuals.
It’s your turn. The Comments section is below.