As I’ve regularly discussed in this column, golf is currently experiencing difficult times. But how exactly did we get here? In examining our present, we must quickly look at our past. Prior to the 1990s, golf was generally considered a boring, elitist game for retirees. But with the entrance of Tiger Woods into the professional […]
Regular readers of this column will know that I rarely pull any punches when it comes to addressing the controversial topics in our industry—especially when the overall goal is to help drive change for the common good of golf in Australia. This month, I’m focussing on a subject that can affect any golf club, […]
There’s an interesting trend quietly occurring in Australian golf at the moment. It seems that more and more courses are beginning to (finally) tune-in to the fact that the majority of golfers out there (i.e. the middle-to-high-handicap club golfers, who are the bread and butter of the industry) are no longer actively seeking out the […]
A grandfather and his grandson are playing golf, when the kid’s shot lands behind a giant tree. The boy asks his grandfather: “How would you play this shot?” The grandfather replies: “When I was your age, I’d play right over the tree.” The boy hits the ball, but not high enough. It bounces off the […]
My recent Starters Box article on “Discrimination” by clubs who are eschewing social and “remote” members (i.e. country members) has generated plenty of responses by readers. Many of these letters (as well as many I’ve received in the past) attempt to paint a picture of Remote/Social members as beer-guzzling, obnoxious and cheapskate golfers who have […]
There’s been a bit of controversy lately about a disturbing trend in Australian golf. It seems that there are some golf clubs out there who are—believe it or not—discriminating against a particular segment of golfers. That’s right. Discrimination. In 2014. In a climate where clubs should be bending over backwards to welcome each and every […]
As the editor of a major golf magazine, I am often asked about my favourite golf courses in the world. While the discussion invariably includes the most famous courses on the planet, to this day one of my all-time-favourite layouts is a relatively obscure, short course that I played during my youth. With a par […]
Recently, there has been a huge surge in the media about new, non-traditional formats of golf. From Big Hole/Hack Golf (which features 15-inch cups) to Light It Up Golf (playing with glow-in-the-dark balls) to Project Flogton (a set of “improved playability” guidelines and rules), to suggestions about 6-hole layouts, etc., it seems that this great […]
My recent “Kodak or Fuji?” article (May issue) generated a heap of great feedback and stories from clubs and readers across the country. This month, I’d like to share a success/turnaround story about one club in particular, Balgowlah Golf Club, near Sydney. By studying the ups and downs of clubs like this, we can all […]
THIS month, there are two key articles to which every golf club and Board should pay close attention. The first, “Report: major challenges ahead for clubs“, details the participation trends of today’s golfer. The second article, “Changing landscapes: courses on the move“ explores how some clubs are planning (or failing) to adapt to these trends. […]
The typewriter. Foldable maps. The Yellow Pages. Film. Inkwells. Cassettes. Rotary telephones. Phonebooths. Fax machines. Cathode Ray Tubes. Pagers. Dot Matrix printers. Vinyl records… Many of our readers will instantly recognise the items listed above. You may have even used them. At one point, each of these household items represented the cutting edge of technology […]
Your voices have been heard, loud and clear. Armed with a laundry list of your concerns about golf in this country, we sat down with Golf Australia to get their responses on the Handicap System, Slope, social golf, TV coverage, growing the game and more.
Last month, we reported on Golf Australia’s plans to boost women’s participation in golf via radically overhauling women’s dress codes and potentially bringing an end to the traditional men’s-only Saturday competitions, etc. While many of you responded with positive feedback about the plans, there were a few of you who weren’t terribly impressed—especially regarding the […]
Following on from my “Augusta Effect” article (October issue), I heard a story the other day from a mate who had played a relatively new-ish course that was featured as part of a larger real estate development. “The course was nice,” he said, “but the rough was crazy deep. Unplayably deep.” While this was not […]
For many people around the world, New Year’s Resolutions are usually broken within days (if not minutes) of them being made. This is usually due to the fact that we either set too difficult a goal to achieve, or we don’t really commit to it in the first place. However, this year will be different. […]
With the recent announcement of the merger between Kingswood and Peninsula golf clubs—two of Melbourne’s prominent Sandbelt facilities—more clubs across the country are discovering that they are not immune to the issues and obstacles threatening golf in Australia. Mergers and amalgamation are part of any business in any economy, so why would your golf club […]
When I started as a humble contributor for this magazine back in 2006 (Issue 16 of Inside Social Golf), I never dreamed that I would one day be sitting at the editor’s desk, publishing the 100th issue. Looking back over the years (and flicking through past issues) I have many great memories connected to […]
IN September’s “Last Word” column, our own Larry Canning penned a light-hearted piece about how course Superintendents are making their courses harder and harder, and how this potentially makes golf less enjoyable for the masses, thus hurting the overall goal of getting more people into the game. While plenty of golfers from across Australia wrote […]
Over the last few months, I’ve received a heap of emails from readers regarding my columns on Club Memberships, Social Golf and the like. While the emails have been almost overwhelmingly positive (Thanks!), there have been some which have stated that articles like “Is your club Anti-Social” are missing (or ignoring) important viewpoints. By far, […]
Over the last year or so, there have been many course closures, sales and merger announcements throughout Australia.. One by one, golf clubs and courses are breaking under enormous financial pressures and a changing mindset and lifestyle of golfers. “But surely it won’t happen to OUR club,” I can hear you whisper. For those of […]
Last year, we initiated a nationwide research “project” to determine how far golfers walk during a round of 18 holes. We were curious as to how the distance on a golf course’s scorecard would compare to the actual distance a golfer walks during a round. We had long assumed that there is MUCH more walking […]
We get a lot of mail from readers concerning rake placement. Should they go inside the bunker? Outside the bunker? Should they be eliminated altogether?
The 2013 Masters will go down in Australian golf folklore as probably one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking, fist-pumping , heart-thumping, take-your-breath-away, get-the-monkey-off-our-backs golf tournaments in the history of our sport. For the rest of the world, however, it may be more remembered for a pair of incidents that may have irreparably changed the game. […]
One of the most common flaws in any business or organisation (or, according to my wife, a marriage!) is a failure to communicate.
Get it right, and you’ll reap the rewards. Get it wrong, however, and you’ll be in the doghouse.
It’s a question I’ve been pondering for years: how far does a golfer walk during a standard round of 18 holes? Sure, you could simply take the yardage on the scorecard, and then add “a little extra”, but when you think about it, there is much, much more walking done by the average golfer. So how does it all add up?
I received a phone call the other day from a very frustrated junior golfer. “Why do members hate us juniors so much?” he asked. I was taken aback for a moment, as I pondered this rather unexpected question. It turns out that the club where he recently took up a junior membership had begun restricting […]
What is it with the media these days? Following Adam Scott’s unfortunate performance at The Open Championship, words like “Choke” and “Collapse” rushed to the fore throughout the media, with overdramatic journalists dredging up stories about Greg Norman’s 1996 Masters, or Jean Van de Veld’s 1999 Open Championship, or the other “greatest chokes in history” […]
Boards are the sole responsibility for the viability of clubs. Plain and simple. And getting the right people onto the Board is critical to success. In a perfect world, a Board would be composed of a diverse group of individuals who (among other things) share a strategic vision for the club, and who have the necessary skills, background, time and passion to perform their duties.
Unfortunately, that is not always possible.
In the continuing struggle to retain members, and attract the ever-important junior contingent, some clubs are beginning to relax the traditional dress codes. White socks and collared shirts still reign supreme, but it seems that more clubs are starting to “turn a blind eye” to the more creatively-attired players these days. It’s a neon-coloured grey area.
Many clubs are failing to embrace a new way of thinking as they try to attract new members (or retain existing ones). Here are a few things your club can do to generate more interest by prospective members
While Australia has the third highest number of golf courses per capita in the world, many in the Australian golf industry believe strongly that there are simply too many golf courses to go around, and that consolidation is the key. This means that some courses will be forced to close their doors permanently or amalgamate with neighbouring clubs.
The use of belly putters has been a hot topic of late, with players like Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and even Phil Mickelson choosing to add long putters to the bag. Following Bradley’s victory at the PGA Championship – the first ever Major won with a belly putter– discussion was rife about whether […]
It’s time for clubs to face the facts: the traditional membership model is stuck in the rough. This became blatantly apparent to me as I recently shopped around for a club to join. Having received the “OK” from my wife to spend some of our ‘hard-earned’ on a membership, I embarked on a quest to […]
In our many visits to golf clubs these days, there is one word that keeps popping up: Scoopon. GMs and marketing managers are all abuzz about the phenomenon, but they are equally wary about how it may affect their clubs in the future. If you’re not familiar with it, Scoopon.com.au is a website that sells […]