PLEASE tick the appropriate box below to rate 2021 as a golf year to remember.

The choices are: excellent, riveting, okay, interesting, ho hum and what happened for me?

Several factors should be taken into consideration before ticking begins.

Ignore, if you will, all the negative things like Covid-19 and forced lockdowns to “keep us safe”, no jab, no play and club members banned from travelling more than five kilometres to play golf at their club.

We commission researchers to tell us why people, and in what numbers, are joining the queue to play our great game, why others are quitting the game,  why women’s membership remains at around 20 per cent compared to men at 80 per cent and pretty soon we will ask juniors why they quit the game in their teenage years.

Still, there are club golfers who keep telling us what’s wrong with the game of golf in this country.

Factor in the weather and compare us with America, Europe and Japan and just about anywhere else.

Australians can play golf all year without having to think about snow and sleet and rain unless they are unfortunate enough to live somewhere in Victoria.

Even then they can buy a large golf umbrella and see winter through.

Factor in the cost of golf in the “Lucky Country” compared with anywhere overseas and we are blessed.

Don’t tick the box until you have worked out how lucky we are to have access to golf courses – some of the world’s best – simply by turning up, making a single phone call or booking a game on-line.

There are a number of other areas that can be factored in to help you make your decision.

Nationally, the game has a united front administration which, thankfully, decided that playing off the front foot was the way to go.

National events were heavily promoted and in some cases cancelled due to Covid and travel restrictions. 

At least the effort was made by the administrators.

Australians made names for themselves around the world in the professional game and many amateurs had their names in lights month after month.

But let’s get back to you, the club golfer and/or the casual/social player. 

Let’s hear what your highlights were in 2021. What was your personal pinnacle in 2021?

For example, which tournament you attended did you think was the best and what was the decision your administrators made which you think did the most for you and your game?

While you are at it, what would you consider to be the best advice or suggestion you gave administrators at a club, state or national level?

Even simpler, which working bee do you think best benefitted from your expertise at club level?

Do you think your attitude to board membership or committee work was exactly what was needed at your club?

We guess what is really needed is a comprehensive gauge which will show the satisfaction level of the average club or casual/social golfer.

You need to tick a box which demonstrates whether you think the game of golf in this country needs any further minor or major surgery.

Could it be that the people who play the game most regularly are indeed happy with what they have?

Are administrators wringing their hands and worrying about the status of the game, doing so simply out of habit or should they have their worry beads worn out at the end of each year?

How many club golfers ever bother to tell the people who run their game what they think?

Maybe they expect the bean-counters and survey-takers to know what they feel without going out of their way to explain what they feel or what they want.

Of course, even with the enlightened attitude of many of our pen-pushers that is not possible.

So, when you look to tick the boxes, ask yourself what right you have to be involved in the future of the game and the decision-making process, if you have never attempted to be part of it.

Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia can play on the front foot and spend a lot of time and money on your sport in your name, but for them to do it without your input sort of begs the question as to how much you care for the future of your own game.

So, as we venture bravely into a new year, ask not what the game can do for you but what you can do for your game and, more importantly, what you have done to improve your sport.

By the way, you have to tick the box yourself and if you can’t be bothered, guess what golf will look like in 2022?

About David Newbery

Chief writer David Newbery has been living, breathing and writing and editing golf for more than 30 years. His extensive knowledge of the game comes from covering golf around the world. Hired by Inside Golf in 2009, David previously worked as the editor of The Golfer for 25 years and before that worked for numerous daily newspapers in Australia and overseas. The Brisbane-based journalist describes his golf game as “a work in progress”, but has had the privilege of playing golf with some of the game’s best players including nine-time major winner Gary Player. David enjoys travelling, reading, music, photography and spending time with family and friends – on and off the golf course.


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