Dear PGA Tour & PGA of America,
I keep reading how golf industry professionals and course owners are desperately trying to grow the game and reach a new younger audience. What most of us weekend golfers are in need of is a quicker, less stressful and more economical game. You are asking us to change our ways but you do not practice what you preach. You want us to play just nine holes, play quicker and have more fun. We are trying all your ideas but you as a tour need to do this as well. Week in and week out you market a product to us and then get upset when we buy that product. You sell us the idea of giant tour bags, taking 5 minutes to hit a shot and having all the clothing and gear under the sun. Then you turn around and tell us to walk the course, play faster and play just nine holes. Perhaps the game isn’t growing because you aren’t practicing what you preach.
I am part of the wave of fans that grew up wanting to play because of Tiger Woods. I am now well into my 30’s and the lack of a true successor has left a void in the game’s next generation. Rickie Fowler has certainly gained some attention but his lack of trips to the winners circle deflates the energy created by his branding. Rory and Jordan have the game to challenge Tiger but don’t bring the flare that is needed to get a young golf generation excited about the game. With the Tiger domination era, everyone was excited to play the game. We couldn’t wait to hit the course and attempt to be like Tiger, the way everyone hit the backyard hoop after watching MJ dominate the NBA.
There have been a few campaigns lately like “while we are young” which encourages faster play and “play nine” which attempts to educate and entice us to play just nine holes. There has even been a hybrid golf/soccer game introduced however none of these have gained the traction needed to grow the game. Now I see we have entered the next chapter, a sexier new cup size.
I read that a small course in a small Canadian town is testing that theory. Every Tuesday for the remainder of the season the Redwoods Golf Course in Langley, BC is replacing the standard 4.25 inch cup with a larger 8 inch cup in its place. (https://www.redwoods-golf.com/course/8-inch-tuesdays) The course is calling this 8 inch Tuesdays, and yes it sounds very phallic. I get the theory, by making the size of the hole larger there is less stress on the short putts, a greater success on the long putts and a faster game to play. Removing some of the frustration from the game can help those non-diehard fans enjoy the game and those are the people we need to attract with these principles. The loyal golf fan however won’t buy it.
Recently Taylor made sponsored an event at the Pauma Valley Country Club introducing golfers to a game with 15 inch cups. The event was successful at game enjoyment however the purist golfer
see video (http://youtu.be/_s9HKnVjd48)
The only draw back that these new formats face is that you don’t see them on Sunday. If you don’t see the gods of golf on TV, the true golfer doesn’t want to see it on their course. EUREKA! There lies the solution.
Imagine if the PGA tour decided that for one week, just one event they would do a nine hole format. Perhaps THEY play a timed game or play with larger cups. Imagine they took a break from the same week in week out format and played something they want the rest of us to do like a par 3 format. Imagine you could see a Pro golfer actually enjoy himself on the course. At the end of the day, I buy the gear and play the game that you promote to me on TV. I play 5 hour rounds full of lined up two footers and pay 1000’s of dollars on gear because that is what you market to me. If you want me to change, you have to change too!
Don’t get mad at us for buying what you are selling.
Yours in golf,
The Weekend Golf