“I also remember some of my old doctor
members at RQ saying ‘what are those kids
doing on the course, they should be out playing rugby’. “I think it’s changing, even at RQ.
We now have young 16- and 17-year-olds
playing in the members’ field. That was unheard of years ago.”
Bosley said he would like to see a shorter version of the game introduced properly.
“Golf doesn’t have to be 18 holes or playing
competitions,” he said. “Golf needs to be a
shorter, quicker game, but it doesn’t need to
be excessively shorter. We do need to see a
change, but it won’t happen overnight.
“Nine-hole golf, which I have been promoting,
hasn’t been embraced yet.
“There have been all sorts of odd marketing
approaches to the nine-hole concept, especially in summer when people shouldn’t be
playing in the middle of the day.
“I also like the idea of having two holes on a
green – a big hole and a standard hole. The
big hole is for the social players because you
want to make putting as easy as possible.
“You need to get people playing a reasonable
game of golf quicker. “When a person starts
out in golf, I don’t know why they need 14 golf
clubs. “They need seven very good golf clubs,
which is much better than buying 14 very
average golf clubs. They are half the weight,
which makes it more convenient to walk.
“Then if you play for 90 minutes it’s cost competitive with going to the gym.
“Somewhere along the line we forgot about
the fact that participation in any sport is the
best thing for our society.”
RQ, but there will be at clubs like Wantima.
“I remember when golf was at its peak and
all our good golfers practically came from the
country. In the country kids played golf – in
the city they didn’t.
“Greg Norman did
do a lot, but there is
confusion as to
what he did,”
WOMEN IN GOLF
Women’s golf, says Coker, is another untapped
market. “The biggest change in golf now is
there are a lot more women that work compared to when I started in golf. “This will
annoy a lot of people, but clubs have got to
allow more women time to play golf,” he said.
“It might be a camel’s nose under the tent,
but I think the time has come.”
Another issue that needs addressing is golf
course maintenance, says Bosley, who believes it is going to be a major area of concern
for many struggle clubs going forward. “Currently, we have a large number of courses
available where the infrastructure is in place,”
he said. “The problem we are going to have is
maintaining that infrastructure while we work
on regrowth in general participation.
“The biggest fear I have for the game right
now is the sheer expense of running a golf
course – not the golf club, but the golf course.
“It’s incredibly expensive to maintain 18 holes
and keep them at a reasonable level.
“The GFC really change everything for golf because golf is an elite sport.
It shouldn’t have been structured that way – it
should have had a much wider base long before the GFC came along.
“We know a lot of clubs are having trouble
with their membership base.
“At the back end of Greg Norman’s career no
one really picking up the mantle for marketing
the game, which is what golf’s governing bodies should have done.
“They should have pushed it in schools then
and programs like Go Go Golf should have
hugely invested in.”
Golf Industry Central Spring 2012