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 or innovation.

Many people assumed they would last forever.

Businesses bet huge sums of money on these “gravy train” technologies. And the bigwigs in charge stubbornly refuted any claims of ‘upcoming obsolescence’ as utter hogwash.

Then, one by one, these items began to disappear, slowly displaced by computers, the Internet, digital imaging, iPhones and the like. And the companies that failed to capitalise on changing landscapes quietly faded into oblivion.

One of the more famous “adapt or die” business stories is about Eastman Kodak and Fuji Photo Film. Both of these companies saw the threat of the digital age on the horizon. Kodak chose to focus primarily on their existing business model. Fuji, on the other hand, found new outlets for their products, reinvented a new business model, and invested significantly in digital photography.

In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.  Fujifilm, on the other hand is thriving.

Fast-forward to today, and a few other modern things are teetering on the brink of obsolescence. Home phone lines, answering machines, broadcast television, Video rental stores, alarm clocks, wristwatches and the like are all facing a bleak future.

And let’s not forget golf.

Golf as a sport is currently in the same place as the Film Industry once was. Competition from other sports (like cycling), less leisure time for 5-hour rounds (i.e. slow play, tough courses), and shrinking disposable household income represent the “Apple iPod” to our “Sony Walkman”.

The vast majority of young/beginner golfers (i.e. the future of our industry) are living in a world that is, by all rights, a completely different prospect than, say 20 years ago (and many of them, by the way, will have never even seen a typewriter, roll of film or cassette tape.)

The golf clubs, boards, committees and organisations that embrace the Fuji mentality (offer innovative membership options, welcome social golfers, embrace juniors, etc) will continue to thrive, while ‘Kodak clubs’ (who bury their heads in the bunker, eschew juniors, etc) will continue to struggle or shut down.

It’s time for us all to change our mentality.  If you don’t believe me, look it up in an encyclopae…uh, wait…on the internet.

See you on the fairways.


About Richard Fellner

A four-time winner of the Australian Golf Media Awards, including Best Photojournalism, Best Opinion, Best Column and Best Photographic Presentation, Inside Golf Group Editor Richard Fellner is the quintessential Golf Tragic, having played the game for over 50 years (but has never gotten any better!) He has played and reviewed courses all over the world, and has interviewed many of the great players of the game (including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Greg Norman). Richard is a member of both the Australian Golf Media Association and the Golf Society of Australia, and has been a featured guest on many Australian "sports talk" radio shows and networks, including ABC Grandstand, SEN 1116, Melbourne Talk Radio 1377, 2GB and others. Follow Richard Fellner on Quora


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