Great introductory session Thursday evening with nine women. I started the session as I do and asked them why they want to invest time to learn the game. One by one each of the attendees shared their reasons. One wanted to enhance her career. Another came because her husband “pushed her into coming.” But, most of the women were there because they wanted to play with their families. Some had children who were getting into the sport and wanted to better understand the game to play with them. A few mentioned that they are now “empty nesters” and are looking forward to playing with their spouses. In summary, these women don’t want to be “left behind.”
Over the last decade the golf industry has begun to look at itself as never before. Programs like “Play Golf America” and “Get Golf Ready” offered by golf courses around the country have had some limited successes, but neither has been able to restart the industry. Other programs like First Tee have focused on drawing children into the game. Terry Anton, President of SNAG, announced this week in Asia his company plans to introduce golf to 100 million children over the next several years through schools. But, none of these address the root problems.
Golf takes an investment of time and money many families can’t afford to make right now. So, if families are going to spend precious resources on something so “frivolous” as golf, it had better add solid value to the family. It can’t just be entertainment, but must teach the family to function together better, to be better citizens in the community, and be better persons. Adherence to rules (honesty), understanding of etiquette (integrity), and learning to live with one another (compassion) are vital to our communities and our future as an industry.
Golf’s been around for centuries and often known as a man’s sport. Indeed rumor has it that G.O.L.F started out as “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.” However, over the last decade golf has stopped growing and efforts to get it restarted have failed. Maybe now the powers to be will really look at how the game fits within our changing culture. Who’s going to take the lead? My bet is on Mom.
It’s Mom who controls the family’s valuable resources. It’s Mom who makes sure that they are invested in the things necessary to ensure the family grows up and grows closer together. It’s Mom, who instead of being left behind, will learn to play the game. It’s Mom who will show her toddler how to hold a club and roll the ball toward a make-believe cup. It’s Mom who will teach the children how to follow the rules and how to be courteous to others on the course. Mom will play golf with her children on Saturday mornings instead of sitting and watching them at soccer games.
Golf is a sport your whole family can play together for a lifetime. Isn’t today a great day to get yours in the game?