I admire the excellent Golfshake.com which continues to grow and expand. This week there was an article about freelance golf writer John Huggan by Kieran Clark. He sent some clear and profound messages about the current state of the sport. My comments are in brackets and italics.
Read the full article:
Some strong thoughts about the way that equipment is making the game one dimensional, not interesting to watch and the governing bodies are doing nothing to redress the situation. The skill and shotmaking which we grew up watching has been gradually taken out of the game. The distance the ball travels needs to be redressed. (This is at the very heart of what is wrong with the game today. I have heard that the new Chief Executive of the Royal and Ancient has admitted that golf is dying. Well, what is being done to save its life? Diagnosis is one thing, radical life saving treatment is another).
He says that many top players would like to play in Europe but the prize money on the PGA Tour is much bigger. If purses were to get within 10% of American prize money they would then come. He calls for a world tour outside of the United States which would fill in weak spots, for example in February when the tour would go to Australia and New Zealand. (In an ideal world, but it would take the elevation of events outside the United States into World Golf Championship or even major championship status with prize money of that level to attract the American players to travel outside of their tour more than once a year. This is why there needs to be much more dialogue and more generosity from the PGA Tour, which is unlikely to happen because they want to protect their domestic brand).
The contraction of print media is damaging the game.There are only three dedicated golf correspondents at UK newspapers (James Corrigan, Telegraph, Derek Lawrensen, Mail and Doug Proctor, Sunday Post in Scotland). Media Centres can have a depressing eerieness with the sparcely populated media which is becoming increasingly common. Without dedicated writers to observe faults, make arguments, the game is losing its critical voices. Many writers have disappeared completely. The coverage will be limited to PGATour.com a promotional extension of the PGA Tour. There needs to be hard, critical comment. (Indeed. But until the sport is overhauled and the “terrible image that non-golfers have of it” as he says makes way for a better public perception then the voices will be kept within a community of those who love golf and not reaching out and allowing new people to join us. Trade newspapers are preaching to the converted. There needs to be a huge outreach to the public to draw more new people in before the print media will find space. Editors with limited resources are sending out a clear message against what they percieve as an elitist and non inclusive sport. It is that which needs changing and the coverage will follow).
There is something wrong with empty courses.
(Yesterday afternoon, a weekday, on a sunny, relatively warm day, I was at a club where the course was empty apart from one junior practicing with his mother watching him. Apart from that it was completely empty. There is something wrong with this to see a course almost completely empty for great swathes of time).
And, Mr Huggan Kirsty Watched on twitter. He said that she should have been stopped from trotting out onto the 18th green at Woburn to commentate on the British Masters prizegiving in high heeled shoes. Her dad should have a word.
(High heeled shoes on the green? Kirsty plays golf in them, see picture above. Quite a feat).