I’m not a big fan of what we call the “new norm” in golf these days.
In terms of participation, do we have to work harder? Yes, we do. Do our expectations have to change sometimes? Yes, they do.
However, I don’t think we can be as hung up in our traditions that we allow them to hold us back sometimes. We can never give up on trying to increase participation. I think we just have to be more creative.
I think sometimes we just settle and accept that people don’t want to come out, that it takes too much time to play, that it’s too expensive, all the thinga we’ve been hearing about the game over the past decade.
What does it cost to play hockey? Yet, my seven-year-old niece wants to play hockey next season because she watched the Olympic women’s hockey.
They need to see examples of games and see for themselves that golf is not an uppity sport, but rather, a game that you can play for a lifetime. While it does offer you challenges, it also offers you recreation, social skills and etiquette.
That’s the message we have to get to parents. Have you ever gone to a hockey game to watch kids play and who’s just as involved, if not more involved? The parents.
What I think is crucial is that we just don’t settle. The answer is in creativity, trial and error and, ultimately, commitment to the cause. Somebody put a club in our hands at some point, so it can be done.