I think we can agree upon that there are very few who can remember the last Olympic Games where golf was played (Paris 1900 and St Louis 1904). This is an 112-year absence. To mark this event, The Olympic Museum, in collaboration with the International Golf Federation (IGF), is devoting an exhibition in Lausanne until 31 January 2016.
The exhibition will look like a 6-hole golf course where you can go through the history of golf, the golf equipment, rules, biggest golf icons and golf courses.
After Lausanne the exhibition will be presented in the fan zone at the golf venue during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and following that will visit the museums, tournaments and offices of a vast number of the IGFs 168 members around the world.
Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with Antony Scanlon, Executive Director of the International Golf Federation. He shared with me (at the 2015 Annual Congress of the PGAs of Europe in Belek, Turkey) some interesting figures about the Olympic Games in Rio from golf perspective:
- The Olympic Games is likely to attract 4.8 billion viewers via 550 TV channels and 220+ broadcasts;
- The Olympic golf course will be able to host 12,000 visitors.
- The Olympics golf course is in a quite good place, just 2 kilometers from the Olympic Village. Actually, other participants will be able to see the golf course…and hopefully to play in their free time.
- The golf course will be tested (also the scoring system) on 8 March 2016.
I think these will be the major challenges of the golf industry:
- How to convince 70% of the viewers who are not interested enough or at all to try golf in their home country?
- How will golf clubs be able to reap the benefits of golf in the Olympic Games?
- Can the Olympic Games compete with the Ryder Cup or the US Open?
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