A few people have taken me to task over this contribution from a month ago, where I opined that tour wins aren’t a big factor in growing the game.
I didn’t mean any disrespect to the accomplishments of Canadians who win on tour.
Certainly, Mike Weir’s win at the 2003 Masters was embraced by Canadians, golfers or not. I remember driving in Toronto a couple of days later and seeing a rather filthy transport truck ahead of me with “Mike Weir rules” etched by finger in the layer of dirt that covered it.
Just over a year later, Weir was capturing Canadians’ attention again as he threatened to become the first home boy since 1954 to win the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey.
That didn’t end as well as the Masters as Weir lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh, but there was little doubt about the impact he was having on the nation.
Adam Hadwin had a similar effect at Shaughnessy in Vancouver where he too threatened to win the national championship in 2011, which would have been quite a story not only because he’s a Canadian, but also because, despite his enormous potential, he seemed not ready ready for prime time four years ago.
Yet, Hadwin was prime time before tying for fourth that year and he’s prime time now as a full-time player on the PGA Tour, one of several who came up behind Weir and remember fondly how that Masters win impacted them.
Capturing the attention of the nation as a whole as these events did is pure gold for the game’s profile and inspiring young players can only be seen as positive, but the point was that players who are now on tour were already sold on the game when Weir slipped on the green jacket.
Whether it caused people to try golf for the first time is the question. Any evidence I’ve read about participation and growth says no, but that doesn’t discount the positive effect of big wins on the nation as a whole or on people who already play the game.
Inspiring existing players and keeping them in the game is important, but it’s usually preaching to the converted when it’s the unconverted who will ultimately grow the game.
To think outside the box, you’ve got to get outside the box and let those who don’t understand what makes golf so attractive to you and the people who do play.
That’s not to say that doesn’t go on. Golf Canada’s Golf In Schools program, for example, is introducing the game to kids who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience the game and there are others, as well.
If a youngster had a mom or dad who plays the game, they are liable to take up the game themselves, so the key to luring new people to the game is not only trying to draw the kids in, but the parents and family, as well.
Obviously, you’re not going to meet them at the golf course, so at the grassroots level, it’s all about getting out into the communities that comprise a golf operation’s market.
That could include talking to service groups, getting involved with service groups, seniors’ centres, schools and other community organizations to not only raise the profile of the golf operation, but also appeal to those who might be convinced to play.
Preaching to the converted is fine, but preaching to the unconverted will be what ultimately grows the game and that brings us to the topic of this week’s GNN Poll.
How often is the golf operation where you work out in the community to spread the word?
You can vote below or on the GNN home page and, as always, your thoughts are welcome in the Comments section below.
How often does the golf operation where you work get out into your specific marketplace to promote the benefits of golf?
- On occasion (49%)
- Never (28%)
- Regularly (23%)