Opinion

Tips to fix slow play

Tips to fix slow play

Nearly every day, I read or hear reports concerning slow play in golf. Having played the game for nearly 50 years, I can attest that slow play is indeed one of the most frustrating parts of the game. And over those years, I have discovered the many causes (and many solutions) to this bane of […]

What’s wrong with golf…ers?

What’s wrong with golf…ers?

As someone who works in the Golf Industry, I spend quite a lot of time reading industry-related articles and information from a number of media sources. There is a great deal of information, feedback and opinions published out there from industry associations (Golf Australia, PGA etc) and golf media, golf journalists, professional players, coaches, Club […]

Golfers (Still) Just Want Fun…Not Futility

Golfers (Still) Just Want Fun…Not Futility

Last month, Golf Australia released their annual National Golf Club Participation Report, which detailed the national trends on membership, competition rounds, general participation and specific program participation. The report, which is available online at https://bit.ly/2Hi6JSq, revealed that golf membership is continuing its steady decline on a national level. Essentially, fewer golfers are opting to join […]

Golf Australia’s clubs’ subs snub

Golf Australia’s clubs’ subs snub

For many Australian club golfers, the months of May/June/July represent a sticky time—as we debate the pros and cons of forking over our hard-earned cash to renew our annual golf club membership. In the end—our bodies and partners willing—we generally choose, once again, to pay our subs, hoping that the Golf Gods will finally reward […]

Going by the numbers

Going by the numbers

Recently, The Australian Golf Industry Council released the National Competition Rounds Report for 2018. And while there was a significant “positive spin” by the council regarding the fact that the year was consistent, with an increase of the number of rounds played, there were a few findings that raised eyebrows here in the Inside Golf […]

A question left unasked

A question left unasked

The other day, I was in a club’s carpark, changing my shoes and packing up the clubs after a round of golf, when I overheard a couple of players walking back to their cars, discussing what I can only assume was a disappointing day on the links. “I certainly won’t be rushing back to play […]

Time-shifting and golf

Time-shifting and golf

  We’ve heard it over and over: “People are Time Poor.” Over the last few years, amid declining memberships and participation, the golf industry has adopted that phrase as a scapegoat of sorts; citing “Time Poverty” as one of the main reasons why people are playing less golf. While I admit that I have used […]

Fixing the Australi-yawn Open

Fixing the Australi-yawn Open

  I’ll warn you all straight away that I’m especially grumpy this month. Not just because I put some extreme stress on my body in an attempt to play 72 holes of golf in a single day, but primarily because I was witness to a “train wreck” of a tragedy for Australian Golf: This year’s […]

Some real data and facts about Par competitions

Some real data and facts about Par competitions

    By Murray Cropley —  Principal of HexaDec Services. www.hexadec.com.au, or email admin@hexadec.com.au A number of readers have recently expressed their irritation at playing in Par competitions. Most readers will know that Par was previously known as “Bogey”, and was considered to be a match by the player against the course. Indeed, the ‘Colonel Bogey […]

Going the distance for Men’s Health

Going the distance for Men’s Health

Our regular readers will know that I often use this column to take a stand against a variety of issues plaguing golf. From declining membership, to mismanagement by committees and boards, to the Rules of Golf, the Slope System and more, you all know that I rarely hold back when something gets me really “teed […]

Golf’s woes grow

Golf’s woes grow

Last month, Golf Australia released the 2017 National Golf Club Participation Report, an annual publication which details membership numbers, playing trends, competition rounds and general participation. Click here for the full report. Sadly, the numbers show that golf in Australia is still on a downward trend. National golf club membership saw a 1.1% decline versus […]

The FUNdamental issue

The FUNdamental issue

Last month saw the much-anticipated and highly-touted launch of Top Golf on the Gold Coast. For the uninitiated, Top Golf is like a driving range on ultra-steroids, seamlessly incorporating a high-tech element into hitting balls (automated ball tee-up, computerised scoring and games, high-tech targets, etc), while also adding a full “American style” Sports bar/food & […]

Playing the percentages

Playing the percentages

The other day, I was playing a round as a guest at a local club, where I was paired with a member of the club’s golf committee. During the round, I noticed that the course had been set up in a rather “challenging” way, with the tees set back, pins tight, speedy greens, rough grown […]

Learning across the Board

Learning across the Board

Every month, I hear (or read via email) stories about a variety of governance issues at clubs. Whether it’s board dysfunction, lack of role clarity, micromanagement, lack of future planning or any number of similar issues surrounding a Board or committee, the fact remains that many clubs across Australia are suffering as a result of […]

It’s time to sink or swim

It’s time to sink or swim

Looking over some of the stories in this month’s issue, one thing has become painfully obvious: the tide has changed in golf. And the big wave is upon us. The USGA and the R&A have announced their new “modernised rules” (to help the game appeal to a larger fan/participant base), while also releasing their findings […]

Let’s hear it for the girls

Let’s hear it for the girls

Last month, Golf Australia announced that they plan to focus heavily on what many consider to be golf’s greatest imbalance – female participation.  GA’s “Vision 2025: The future of women and girls in golf” plan (see story on page 6) is aimed to get more women playing this great game, by improving the culture at […]

When faster isn’t better

When faster isn’t better

  Anyone who has played golf with me knows that I’m a fan of playing quickly. My regular foursome, when unencumbered by slow groups ahead of us, can easily finish our round in roughly three hours and 45 minutes.  A quick round is a fun round. So you’ll understand my frustration when, last month, I […]

Stop the chop: Save18Holes

Stop the chop: Save18Holes

Ok, folks. Enough is enough – it’s time for us all to take action. One of Australia’s most beloved and iconic golf courses, Melbourne’s Albert Park Golf Course, is facing the chop. Situated just a 5-iron away from the Melbourne CBD (if you’re Dustin Johnson), the course is an institution for Melburnians, and sees upwards […]

The cart before the course

The cart before the course

In February, I wrote about how golf is predominantly a game of “No”, with golfers commonly hearing phrases like “No, you can’t wear those types of socks/shoes/shorts/shirts”, “No, women (or juniors) can’t be on the course this day of the week,”, “No, you can’t check email on your phone while in the clubhouse,”, “No, you can’t play unless you have an […]

Girls just want to have fun

Girls just want to have fun

Over many years, I have argued at length in this column that clubs, members and committees need to ‘wake up’ and take dramatic, swift action to change their mindsets from the old, traditional models into a new way of thinking. Recently, it seems that many clubs out there have been listening to and/or following these […]

The greats agree: the modern ball is out of bounds!

The greats agree: the modern ball is out of bounds!

Watching Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy drive the green on the iconic Par-4 18th hole at St Andrews last month must have made some of the past generations question what exactly are the manufacturers doing to the equipment to enable such prodigious lengths off the tee. Or what about American Brooks Koepka muscling a 3-wood 380 […]

Has Australian Golf gone out of bounds?

Has Australian Golf gone out of bounds?

Over the last few months, I’ve received an increasing number of emails/letters from disgruntled readers, denouncing our governing body, Golf Australia, for a variety of reasons (see this month’s Your Voice for just a sample of the many opinions I’ve received lately.) There’s no doubt that you, the readers, feel that golf in this country […]

Beat the Pro – every week

Beat the Pro – every week

A few readers have alerted me to a situation that is slowly trickling through clubland. It seems that a growing number of clubs are beginning to allow professionals to play in club events like the weekly members’ competition and even Club Championships. That’s right, we are now being asked to compete against the professionals in […]

Lost in the Woods

Lost in the Woods

We’ve received a few letters lately regarding the media’s poor treatment of Tiger Woods and his recent troubles (see this month’s Your Say page for a sample). Readers may have noticed our lack of “coverage” regarding Tiger’s woes over the past few years. This has been a conscientious decision. We have always preferred to take […]

State to state, a slippery slope

State to state, a slippery slope

A few issues back, I raised some points about the Slope System and handicap indexing. To summarise, I proposed that, instead of using the current (and potentially outdated) American Slope system to determine the relative difficulty of courses here in Australia, we instead turn to the real-world statistical data of rounds played at each course. […]

Rewriting the Rule Book

Rewriting the Rule Book

By now you will have heard that the USGA and the R&A are conducting a major revamp/simplification of the Rules of Golf. In a refreshing twist, the USGA and R&A are, amazingly, asking for feedback/suggestions from golfers regarding the rules. And while I’m under no illusion that the USGA or R&A are truly open to […]

Hot under the collar

Hot under the collar

Last month’s column about mobile phones in the clubhouse unleashed a multitude of reader responses. Dozens of you wrote in, overwhelmingly supporting my point that electronic devices in the clubhouse were simply a sign of the times, and that clubs need to embrace that fact. The column also generated a bunch of letters on related […]

Seniors subdue the subsidy snafu

Seniors subdue the subsidy snafu

Most clubs across Australia will have, in one form or another, a membership category or subsidy in place to cater to Senior Members. Designed to reward long-term loyalty (and reduce the financial strain on older members), this can take the form of a greatly discounted rate for members over a certain age, who have been […]

Closing the (gender membership) gap

Closing the (gender membership) gap

Last month, we received a letter which highlighted a growing concern by many golfers. The letter (Why 7 isn’t 7, Letters section) explained how a typical 7-day women’s membership, for example, doesn’t generally allow women to play golf on Wednesdays or Saturdays (men’s-only comps days); effectively making their membership a 5-day membership. Since then, I’ve […]

Time for (your) major support for our major events

Time for (your) major support for our major events

The 2016 summer of golf is here, and it is looking to be a cracker. With the long-anticipated World Cup of Golf played at Kingston Heath, the Australian Open at Royal Sydney, and the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines, Aussie golf fans are in for a real treat. The World Cup of Golf […]

Golf Month is here…now let’s all pitch in!

Golf Month is here…now let’s all pitch in!

Every week, I read countless emails, stories, reports and news pieces about how golf is struggling to attract and/or retain golfers. It’s become a rather mundane activity, as nearly everyone is keen to point any number of fingers at any number of culprits. Whether it’s the fault of other sports like cricket, the struggling economy, […]

Golden moments: Olympic Golf a major victory

Golden moments: Olympic Golf a major victory

To those who doubted the validity of golf in the Olympics, it’s time to admit that you may have been wrong. Yes, the format was uninspired, and the threat of Zika made all the headlines prior to the event, but when all was said and done, the game of golf put on a gold-medal-worthy performance […]

Will Olympic Golf make the cut?

Will Olympic Golf make the cut?

As someone who once held a glimmer of hope for Olympic glory (I was a competitive fencer in my youth) I can attest that there are few things on Earth more alluring than the opportunity to compete for a gold medal on behalf of your country. From the thumping of the drums in the “Olympic […]

It’s time to get ‘real’ about Slope and indexing

It’s time to get ‘real’ about Slope and indexing

It’s a common occurrence for many of us when visiting a course: you walk off the 18th after your round thinking “Gosh, that course was a lot easier/harder than the Slope rating suggests.” Or maybe there are a few individual holes at your home club that seem to always play much easier/harder than the index […]

Tough tracks: Do we want David versus Goliath?

Tough tracks: Do we want David versus Goliath?

Watching the third round of the recent The Players Championship, I was reminded of how much I truly dislike watching the world’s best players be forced to suffer undue punishment on the golf course. For those of you who didn’t see it (which is probably most of you, as it was only available on Foxtel—but […]

Good news: Golf is in better shape than we think!

Good news: Golf is in better shape than we think!

Over the past few years, much has been written and said about how golf clubs are struggling to attract and retain players, and how golf in general is facing an uphill battle against other sports that are quicker, cheaper and easier. Golf clubs are closing/amalgamating, waiting lists are disappearing, joining fees are dwindling and membership […]

Cereal killer: golf and the “convenience” factor

Cereal killer: golf and the “convenience” factor

A recent story in the New York Times reported that the breakfast cereal industry is in dire straits.  Sales of the quick and easy breakfast favourite have tumbled by almost 30 per cent over the past 15 years, with the future looking even more uncertain. That’s right. The bellwether breakfast staple for millions of kids […]

Suited to a tee: Going beyond the red, white and blue

Suited to a tee: Going beyond the red, white and blue

If you flick through any number of marketing brochures, websites and even course reviews in golf magazines, you’ll doubtless have seen courses promoting the fact that they have “multiple tee boxes to suit golfers of all abilities.” And while some of these clubs simply have the standard three-tee combination of the red /white /blue, a […]

Finding golf’s x-factor

Finding golf’s x-factor

Despite being a hopeless golf tragic (and a Yankee transplant) many of you will be surprised to learn that I am also a fan of cricket. Now, before you spit out your tea, keep in mind that my interest is primarily in the shorter versions of the game: i.e. Twenty/20, etc.  Yes, I understand that […]

The power and the passion

The power and the passion

Last month, I witnessed first-hand how a group of passionate people, by working together, can make magic happen. I was part of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, a website which helps products generate start-up funds through public pledges. This campaign hoped to fund the return of a 1990s US cult classic TV show (Mystery Science […]