G-Mac: Golf needs to be a quicker and more fun game to play

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 19, 2016 11:51

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell has said golf needs to be quicker, sexier and less elitist as new data shows participation is still falling.

Participation in the UK had been dropping sharply for most of the opening years of this century, with the number of monthly players dropping by more than 400,000 in just seven years between 2008 and 2015 in England alone.

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Graeme McDowell

Although it was hoped that the tide was beginning to turn as data this spring stated that monthly participation in England had risen by 20,000 in the previous year, research by SMS has found that the average number of rounds played in the UK decreased by 12 per cent between April and June of this year, compared to the same period in 2015.

The USA has seen a similar trend and Golfsmith International Holdings, the world’s biggest golf equipment retailer, filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of September, and both Nike and Adidas announced in 2016 that they were substantially pulling out of the golf business.

“There’s no doubt the game needs to be faster, it needs to be cooler and it needs to be sexier,” said Graeme ‘G-Mac’ McDowell.

“We need to get the young people involved, we need to really take the elitism away from the sport.”

McDowell said that the game has got “great traditions” but that should not prevent it from being innovative.

“Sports and businesses and everyone is trying to work out what the millennial wants,” he said. “I think the game of golf, having been inside it at the top level for the last 16 to 20 years, you see these big sponsors like Mastercard and see how much money they are spending in this space; how much research they are doing to make sure that there marketing money is being well spent?

“You see a company like Nike pulling the plug on their golf equipment and you ask yourself, ‘What is going on out there?'”

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McDowell said there are many people working on widening the appeal of the sport but added: “I think we are lucky, we have got some young, cool, up-and-coming golfers that are really great role models for the sport and we have just got to believe that the sport is great, it has got great traditions, but we’ve also got to be innovators.

“We’ve got to make it cooler, more fun and wear shorts and play music and have a faster version of the game. Watch this space, I think we have some smart people working on it.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 19, 2016 11:51
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1 Comment

  1. paul warner September 20, 08:19

    Golf has always missed the chance to promote the game as a family game. What other sport can the grandmother play with the grand daughter or grandfather with the grandson. Clubs need to wake up or in 20 years golf will have lost 50% of the clubs .

    Their are lots of PGA professional working hard to promote the game (but often this is looked at as feathering thier own pockets)

    The industry needs to have a combined intrests European Tour, R&A , Clubs committees , manufacters ,Ladies European tour, PGA professionals.

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