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, […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
If you’ve read my column on a regular basis over the past few years, you’ll have seen many references to the growth of social golf in Australia. Month after month, year after year, this country has seen a steady increase in golfers choosing to play the game via public access/green fees rather than join private […]
As you can imagine, the Inside Golf team spend a lot of time on the road, visiting private golf clubs, public courses, industry bodies and any number of golf-related businesses throughout the country. One of the more enjoyable aspects of my position is visiting with clubs and chatting with members, GMs, staff and the like. […]
As a father of two school-aged children, I am often disheartened (or even downright angry) when I see, year after year, how sports like cricket, footy, soccer, netball and basketball take centre stage in the school newsletters, notices and other communications, while golf gets nary a mention. So imagine my surprise (nay, delight) when a […]
Following on from last month’s column about businesses and companies that are focusing more on profits than on customers, I’d like to address a related topic that is just as worrying: cost-cutting to excess. In business, there are (basically) two ways to boost profitability: 1) increase revenue, or 2) cut costs. Lacking the ability to […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
The proposed new laws that would place bet limits on poker machines are causing quite a stir – especially around the golf course. The Proposal – which would require pre-commitment technology to be placed on poker machines in all clubs and hotels across Australia – is intended to reduce problem gambling. Greg Mills, CEO of […]
Teaching older people I am currently 62 years old. I started golf at age 13 and my best handicap was 9, in my teens. I am physically fit for my age but have normal age-induced, limited, spinal flexibility. When one goes for a lesson, a pro may ask you if you have any injuries, but […]
Did the PGA make the right call in scheduling the Australian Open before the Presidents Cup?