Opinion

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 To summarise, I proposed that, instead of using the current (and potentially outdated) American Slope system to determine the relative difficulty of courses here in Australia, we instead turn to the real-world statistical data of rounds played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 […]

It’s time to get social

It’s time to get social

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 […]

A team effort

A team effort

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. […]

Are we all doing our part for golf?

Are we all doing our part for golf?

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 […]

Profitability: at what cost?

Profitability: at what cost?

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 […]

A constitutional crisis?

A constitutional crisis?

  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, […]

Offensive defence

Offensive defence

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 […]

See the forest for the trees

See the forest for the trees

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 […]

Social golfers: stereotype versus reality

Social golfers: stereotype versus reality

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 […]

Discrimination in golf

Discrimination in golf

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 […]

A short solution to a big problem

A short solution to a big problem

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 […]

Playing by the (relaxed) rules

Playing by the (relaxed) rules

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 […]

Peering into the crystal (golf) ball

Peering into the crystal (golf) ball

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 […]

The Augusta Effect

The Augusta Effect

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 […]

The private to public conversion…is it imminent?

The private to public conversion…is it imminent?

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, […]

Is your golf club anti-social?

Is your golf club anti-social?

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 […]

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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. […]

Women and children first

Women and children first

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 […]

No Silver Lining: when your best isn’t good enough

No Silver Lining: when your best isn’t good enough

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” […]