In this post, Hanno Kross, the CEO of Estonian Golf & Country Club continues to explain how can we get rid of obstacles of golf participation:
I heard already few years ago that there is a company in Italy which develops the ball and a club where it has a chip inside so when you hit your shot, you can see the statistics from your device in detail and of course you can search your ball also and find it.
I personally don’t care if there is someone somewhere who says that this is not allowed and I wouldn’t allow these also in our club championship but on a Sunday round when people want to play a fast round of golf or they want to make their own tournament using some software what is available for that – I would encourage to use the technology!
And think about the environmental impact for the golf courses when they could mow weekly less rough for example when these lost golf balls would be in use? For every golf course hundreds of thousands of Euros when combined the fuel, man hours, depreciation of the machinery, water management etc. The players are still in huge trouble when they find their ball and still the pros have a lot of work but the enjoyment from the game for certain type of players would be a lot better. Maybe we are losing these type of players today, we just don’t know…
So the typical presentation in golf today is that someone steps to the stage and starts to ask, how do we modernize golf when the golf club membership is declining and juniors don’t take up the sport as they did years ago. They start to suggest many things how to imply for the youngsters and rethink the sport that maybe we need to go online! And be more accessible.
Golf is few decades behind when we compare ourselves to flight companies or hotel businesses. Try to remember how you booked a holiday 20 or 10 years ago and how you do it now and think what there is available in golf… We are still using same methods as hotels used maybe 10 or 20 years ago. We are going to the tour operator or sending an email to book the tee time… And we are surprised to see some golf clubs or courses in trouble…
I think majority of the golf businesses have been very lucky, it’s been easy for them and still the shock hasn’t come, we are still lazy and don’t look the businesses from the clients’ perspective, especially the new ones. They don’t care so much about the speed of the green rather how they can spend time with their friends or family and have fun!
I think dealing with juniors is important but if we really want to grow in participation then we have to look new possible players from the age groups 30-40 who first time in their lives have some money and maybe flexibility and want to escape for few hours from work or small children. Preferably with their wives!
We have to advertise to the 60+ years as they have time and money and they live 20 years more than they grandparents did. They have 15-20 years very active life still ahead of them and golf is superb for them for socializing and being fit for the last third of their lives. How many associations or clubs are putting these age groups for one priority when they talk about growing the game? Not many so far, I think.
I would like to end this post with our clubs president’s words that we often do the same things and expect different results in our businesses… I think it is more than true in the golf business generally and those who have taken the guts to change and be more open they are sharing their win with the players already. Golf has been played more than 600 years and will be played another 600 because it is simply the best game in the World.