Monty criticises golf’s image

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 12, 2012 07:47

Former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has warned that golf venues are suffering from negative stereotypes about the game.

The president of the junior golf charity, the Golf Foundation, was responding to a Sport England Active People survey that found that the number of people who played golf in England in 2011 had dropped to 833,200. In 2007 the figure was 948,300.

“Golf has had this elitist feel for too long,” he said. “It’s my job, along with the Golf Foundation, to break down that barrier and get school kids to play the game.

“We are trying to get up to one million new golfers playing the game in Britain by the time 2013 comes along and, of course, when you think about the opportunity we have with the Ryder Cup playing here in 2014, that’s a fantastic initiative.”

Montgomerie was speaking to Sky Sports during the recent Masters’ tournament. The broadcaster then showcased two golf clubs – one proprietary and one private – to help Montgomerie achieve his aim of proving that golf is changing.

The first, Hoebridge Golf Centre in Surrey, markets itself as a venue for families.

Mike O’Connell, club manager, told millions of viewers: “We have a very simple philosophy. We want to break down the barriers that golf has to encourage younger people to start up the game of golf and enjoy it for what it is – a fun sporting activity.

“Unlike many private clubs, we don’t have the issue of dress code, which restricts entry into the game of golf. We offer golf for everybody and we welcome golfers from as young as four to take up the game of golf here.”

Prestbury Golf Club in Cheshire was also featured. One lady member explained that she now has the same rights as her male counterparts. “Ladies can now play at any time,” she said. “In the past the restrictions have been very much loaded towards the gentlemen. We now have our equality and enjoy the course at all times.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 12, 2012 07:47
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  1. (@eTeeoff) (@eTeeoff) April 15, 00:05

    Monty recently said #golf is struggling due to negative stereotypes. Ouch! This is a MUST-READ: #golfbusiness

    Reply to this comment
  2. Walmersley Golf Club (@walmersleygc) April 14, 19:41

    » Monty criticises golf’s image

    Reply to this comment
  3. Austin Meehan (@flgatorshoops) April 12, 21:56

    » Monty criticises golf’s image

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mike Robson (@mdrobbo24) April 12, 17:07

    “@GCM_mag: Colin Montgomerie warns that golf has an elitist image“@johnhuggan – any comments John !

    Reply to this comment
  5. Jacquie Wade April 12, 16:48

    well done to Prestbury Golf Club – wish there were more like them.
    However, I really wish that more people like Monty would jump on the bandwagon and highlight the whole sexist/elitist/equality problem, that way the journalists would get involved and the changes may start to be made.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Alasdair Murray April 12, 15:43

    Couldn’t agree more. A few years ago my wife and I were looking to join a local club. We’re both reasonably proficient, I play off 18 and my wife, whilst not having played for as long, went to college to learn and is a tidy 20ish handicap.

    Anyway, the local club 5 minutes away by care made sense so we drove down there on a Sunday lunchtime and went in to look around. Immediately, someone I know through work circles called me over, greeted me warmly and then said “wherre did you park?”. When I told him he drew a deep breath and said “oooh you shouldn’t really park there on a Sunday, and technically speaking your wife shouldn’t be in this bar!” Not a great start, but it got worse. It turned out there was a joining fee of £1500 an annual membership for each of us of c.£2k and a waiting list of a couple of years – if we were lucky! In contrast, a newish club 25 minutes away by car welcomed us with open arms and we soon became involved in mixed matches and other club competitions. All for the sake of a few airs, graces, attitudes and pounds.

    Seems crazy to me in this day and age and with the game struggling to get numbers that this atitude prevails at some clubs. Only the other week on Twitter the very same club I profiled above – the one 5 minutes away – tried to convince me that £60 was a good green fee for a midweek 18. Again, 20 minutes down the road I can pay £16 twilight or even sometimes £10 for a late afternoon 18. None of the courses are Augusta, but equally none of them are ropey. They just welcome visitors at a time when they recognise that finances are a bit tight and they need to generate a bit of footfall.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Sean Mysel April 12, 15:25

    Dear Golf Clubs & Courses,

    Please feel free to catch up with us here in the 21st century as soon as possible.


    Golfers Everywhere

    Reply to this comment
  8. Alexandra B Almeida (@xanagolfe) April 12, 12:03

    Monty criticises golf’s image > “venue for families”…”Ladies can now play at any time” (!!, no comment) #growgolf #in

    Reply to this comment
  9. (@SASCGolf) (@SASCGolf) April 12, 11:35

    Colin Montgomerie has warned that golf’s future is under threat unless it tackles its ‘elitist’ image problem

    Reply to this comment
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