Monday, June 18, 2012

Getting Introduced to the Game of Golf

For the past couple years, interest in the game of golf has been declining.  New participants are at an all-time low and many players are quitting the game.  The economy has played a role in the decline, but other factors are contributing as well.  Some golf courses are making it harder for beginners to join the game.  Others are toughening courses due to the influx of technology into the game.  Others still are cancelling group lesson programs. 

As a tight-knit fraternity, golfers have to take a stand.  We need to start introducing new players into the game.  Courses need to start offering programs to beginners and high handicappers to strike golf fever into a new generation of golfers.  But we cannot do it the old-fashioned way.  Many young people these days are very dependent on technology.  We as golfers need to embrace technology into the game.  Maybe we need to videotape beginners' swings so they can see them and post the videos on social media.  Maybe we need to incorporate Twitter into games on the course.  Maybe having a long-drive contest or closest-to-the-pin contest where the entries are posted to Twitter or Facebook will get more and more kids interested in the game.

Along that line, courses need to make the game more accessible to everyone.  Some courses play too long and too hard for the beginning player.  Courses need to place temporary tee-boxes in the fairways for beginners to hit from.  Instead of a 400 yard par-4, the beginner's tee should be placed at 250 yards.  That will allow the players to have much shorter clubs into greens and have a chance to make great shots and score.  Many players feel discouraged from the normal tees when they can only hit the ball 150 yards.  Having tees dedicated to the beginners will allow these players to experience shots we as seasoned veterans enjoy each and every round.  Who doesn't like hitting a green in regulation?  Or splitting the fairway and having a short-iron into a green?  With tee boxes moved forward, beginners can experience more and more of these feelings and hopefully stay enthusiastic about the game of golf.

As a community, golfers need to stand together and embrace the new generation of golfers.  Take your children and their friends to the course.  Invite your neighbor and his wife to the golf course.  Play a round of golf with your brother-in-law.  Any way you can, we need to invite more new players to keep the game of golf the strongest sport in the world.  Who knows, you may just pique a beginner's interest and you may find a golfing buddy for life.  

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