What will Tiger Woods’ astonishing comeback mean for golf participation?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 17, 2019 04:40

Tiger Woods’ incredible Masters victory could lead to more people playing the game in the UK – not least because images of him winning were broadcast on the front pages of newspapers the following day.

It’s thought that the publicity boost for the game will result in more people considering playing golf  – and even if the main benefit is felt in the USA, this could ultimately result in Americans wanting to play some of the best golf courses in the world in the UK, argues The Golf Business editor Alistair Dunsmuir in a new podcast with the Daily Mail’s Georgie Frost.

Masters champion Tiger Woods celebrates after he made his putt on hole No. 18 green to win the Masters during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019.

“Golf has something of a long-standing image problem in Britain,” she said.

“Women are still banned from joining some private clubs, young people now prefer to take up cycling rather pick up a set of golf clubs and it is finding it hard to shake off its reputation as the sport of snobs.

“That could be about to change. Some say if it doesn’t the industry is doomed.

“The monumental comeback by Tiger Woods might be the catalyst this ailing pastime needs.

“After 11 years out of the golfing – at least – spotlight, the US star has just lifted the 83rd Masters trophy.

“Do incredible wins such as this really filter down to the grass roots? Possibly not but the sport is trying to evolve.

“The big opportunity is women – only 13 per cent of UK golfers are women.”

The duo discuss initiatives clubs are undertaking to get more women to play golf plus other growth areas including the rise of shorter formats of the game.

Masters champion Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019.

“There are 200 clubs around the country that now offer footgolf – a new hybrid sport in which players kick a football around the course into giant holes.

“And big money is moving in, with six clubs being bought by six big entertainment companies in the last six months compared with one sale every year or two in the past,” she added.

“Something’s happening in golf. Watch this space – or hole – as one in the business might say.

“Let’s hope it’s not a black one.”

Listeners can hear the podcast in a number of ways via this link: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/moneyball/article-6925247/Can-British-golf-repair-damaged-reputation-learn-Tiger-Woods-Moneyball.html


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 17, 2019 04:40
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  1. JB May 2, 11:27

    Being seasonal PGA qualified golf instructor since Tiger Woods Masters victory I,came across teaching
    about forty new golfer between 15-25 age group.
    Tigers great impact and influences on game of golf is unbelievable

    Reply to this comment
  2. Cliff May 1, 10:58

    Last time resulted in a proliferation of golf courses. Many now closed. So no real increase in round numbers. Golf is a weird industry.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Nick April 30, 13:31

    We’re addressing this question in the next issue of Golf World. What does Tiger’s win mean to the younger generation? We’re all making assumptions that it’s going to grow the game and inspire more people to get out and play – but is it only the older generation who really cares about him?

    Reply to this comment
  4. Simon April 30, 11:09

    I’m with you guys, i doubt it will create any new golfers whatsoever unless – we come at it from the angle , look what game you should play when your bodies knackered

    Reply to this comment
  5. Tom April 24, 10:41

    I think Tigers win is more about nostalgia than anything else, although his come back story is truly inspirational as well. What an athlete!
    However, when Tiger first game on the scene in 1997, he was a 21 year old, breaking the mould and he inspired a generation of kids to play golf, including me.
    Now he’s 43 and the image of a Tour Pro has completely changed, they’re all athletes wearing sports gear now, so he doesn’t stand out anymore. We really can’t rely on Tiger to inspire a whole new generation to pick up a club for the first time and we need guys like Rory, Ricky and the like to do their bit.
    The wider responsibility really still sits with governing bodies and us as operators though, and the game has to evolve beyond what it looks like on tour. It needs to be quicker, more dynamic and more fun. In my view Golf Sixes and Big Hole Golf are two great solutions and have the potential to appeal to a really broad audience. Top Golf and Top Tracer also have a huge part to play and are already doing so.
    Golf genuinely feels in a better place than it has been in recent years and we’re starting to gather pace with some new initiatives that are starting to work, but please let’s not just hope that Tiger will do it all on his own!

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  6. Tim April 23, 11:12

    Here’s a man who has the right answer . . . look out for the headline which reads: Finding new members is a question of sport.
    #golfclubs #pga #gcma #beinspired #englandgolf

    Reply to this comment
  7. peter April 17, 14:13

    No doubt there will a great deal of enthusiasm and some level of new participation but I wouldn’t expect a huge boost. Those who really know and love Tiger have been playing all along and waiting for the day Tiger made his “return”. His comeback is more about “the end” than it is a “beginning”. Loyal fans wanted to see how Tiger would handle adversity and “finish his career”. Booker T Washington said: ” success is measured not by the position one has reached in life but by the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed “. If there is nothing else from Tiger, he has “Finished as a winner”.

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