There is so much fuss these days about the “state of golf” and what we can day to improve the game. First and foremost, there will always be critics in any sports, so to say golf needs to “change” is a bit drastic, but with participation down in recent years it does make sense to reevaluate what golfers actually want.
In writing this piece and doing some research I came to realize that I’m in a perfect position to do some evaluating, as I am your typical millennial golfer who is around other golfers and courses on a daily basis. Golfers are a simple breed, who want camaraderie, and a fun time on the course. So, that being said, what do golfers really want?
1. A well-maintained course
A golf course is a beautiful thing and a masterpiece of human creation with gorgeous views of nature. That being said, we expect the golf course to be in nice shape. There is nothing that frustrates a golfer more than crappy fairways, bumpy greens, inconsistent rough, and beat up tee boxes. Why should I spend my hard earned money on a golf course that doesn’t provide me with a quality product? When golf was booming, course owners were building new facilities like crazy, which hindered quality. This is the industry’s fault, not the golfer’s fault. Golfers don’t mind dishing out a few extra bucks for a nicer course, but we are also not fooled by a lesser product.
2) “If you don’t play good, play fast”
This quote really resonated with me when I heard it from the general manager at Middle Bay Golf Course. I loved it because it was so true. Pace of play has nothing to do with being good or bad at golf, it has everything to do with being considerate of the golfers behind you. Every millennial under the sun thinks they have ADD or ADHD, so testing their patience in a sport that is already a mind game, is not how you get people excited. No need to rush, but play fast, and make sure you keep up with the group ahead of you. Simple.
3) Banter and Laughter
Golf can be a serious game, but it doesn’t have to be. The average golfer hits a ton of bad shots throughout the round, which shouldn’t be frustrating, but rather an opportunity to poke fun at your buddies. If my friend or player partner hits an atrocious shot, you better believe they will be hearing about it from me. This isn’t to say I am making fun of them, it is simply keeping the mood light. After all, golf is a luxury, remember that.
4) Seeing progress
The average golfer rarely breaks 90, which means there are going to be many, many, bad shots out on the course. That’s not what golfer’s care about, and that’s not what will stop them from coming back. It is seeing constant progress that we want most from round to round. So, my best advice to a beginner or casual golfer is to get a lesson or two. Learn proper mechanics. You can sit out on the range for hours and hours, but if you’re practicing a flawed swing, then you will be ingraining poor habits for the future. Get a lesson, ingrain proper muscle memory, and see that progress you’re looking for.
Give us a good course, be considerate, allow us to laugh, and hopefully we will play long enough to get better!