What will the changing face of golf bring?

2013-06-28 00:00

TODAY’S challenging economic climate has caused negative growth in those playing the game of golf worldwide. How’s that for a sentence?

That’s what most national golf associations are saying. It implies that the reason that golf isn’t attracting new people to the game is because it is becoming unaffordable. That may be so, but there may be other reasons that are just as relevant. It seems that there are so many more distractions for all of us these days. It’s life in the fast lane and it’s especially true for younger people. So the next most relevant reason seems to be time, or lack of it. A game of squash, for instance, played over an hour or two is acceptable, but the four to five hours to play golf is just too long, and that doesn’t include the postmortem at the 19th hole.

Of course, there are other sports that one can play that also don’t take very long. All this is a concern for the future of golf. Mister average-golfer probably isn’t too concerned about the game’s future, but he should be, because it will have an impact on the survival of individual golf clubs and nobody likes to see golf clubs closing down.

However, the latest golf statistics show that there is negative growth for male golfers in South Africa, but a 13% growth in women’s golf. One could hazard a guess as to the reasons for this, and there could be a few, but interestingly the growth in women’s golf is not only in South Africa, it’s happening in the rest of the world as well.

In the U.S, growing the women’s golf market has a higher priority than ever before and there are efforts to expand this segment across that country. One thing for sure, I would think that women golfers spend more money on apparel than men. Can you imagine, if the trend continues, in years to come, when 50% of golfers are female, the rule book will have to be modified. Have you noticed that the R&A rules of golf only refer to a golfer as “he”, “him” or “his”?

You will not find, “she”, “her” or “hers” anywhere in the book.

Golf rules have no gender, nor does this column. So whenever your scribe mentions “he”, please read it as “he” or “she”. Unfortunately, the English language doesn’t have a solitary word for both he and she, although words like “us”, “you”, “they”, “them” and “those” have no gender.

From the 19th hole:

Three old golfers, Sam, Harry and Fred, were sitting together after their weekly game of golf. These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other. Sam said: “I’ve still got a good memory, I can remember my first day at kindergarten.”

Harry said: “That’s good, but I can remember my first birthday just like it was yesterday.”

Harry said: “That’s very good, but I have an absolutely remarkable memory. I can remember when I went to a party with my dad and went home with my mom.”

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