How Golf Is Evolving
In the eyes of many golf is a game for retired men who have little else to do during the day. Yet there are many younger players joining the game. But for these players, many are stuck having a solo game, as it’s hard convincing friends to step back from their video games or bars to get some fresh air.
As a result, many golf courses have been evolving and changing the game in order to entice younger players. Just like with many other sports, golf must reinvent itself to changing consumer demand. The young golfers of today that can stay engaged with their game will be tomorrow’s expert or pro golfers.
Here are some ways that golf is evolving. Some professionals may agree with the changes, while many others are hesitant to fix what they think isn’t broken.
1. Relax Dress Codes. Many young people may think it’s barbaric to be told what to wear on the golf course, particularly when women may more targeted with these issues. As a result, many golf courses are relaxing the dress codes. Shorts’ lengths may not be as strict, and t-shirts may even be allowed, rather than button down or collared shirts.
2. Musical entertainment. Besides being allowed to bring your boom box on the green to play your game, tournaments may also broadcast music. This may also interest a new generation of golfers who are flicking through the channels and discover that the golf game has just gotten more lively with music.
3. Speeding up or generally shortening the game. While getting fresh air and walking around all day is healthy, it’s not particularly athletic. And some people want to play a game for a couple of hours and then go home. A shortened eight or nine hole course may be the solution.
Keith Pelley from the PGA European Tour has told the BBC that the tour is planning on including a six-hole course with music at some of their future events. Australia has already been onboard with their World Super 6 Perth Tournament for 2016 that ran last week.
Another benefit of a shortened game is the ability to make golf affordable for everyone, but doesn’t harm the balance line of the golf club, as more people can play during the day. It also doesn’t take all day to play, so you can play your game, then go to work, or do another activity that day.
4. Improved cell phone reception. In the past, many golf courses didn’t have good cell phone reception. You can imagine how frustrating this would be for the millennial generation. Now many may offer WiFi as part of the golfing
There are even automatic golf carts that have spots where you can keep your smart phone or tablet safe, and that will even charge them up if the battery has run low.
5. Game within a game. Adding additional games, such as a shoot-out, at the end of the course can make it a better atmosphere. These can be used to determine the winner, or for handing out prizes. Generally, the winner is determined by only that first shot.
A game within a game will provide additional fun and challenges for beginner golfers.
6. Making it a party experience. If there’s something that’s going to interest new players, it’s converting a boring golfing game into a party experience. This means having alcohol delivery on the course, adding the music, and having more players on the green. It may mean additional comforts; such as couches or chairs set up for spectators. The games may also be played during the night.
After the game can be a celebratory party back at the clubhouse with party decorations and an awards ceremony. It’s like a complete party night out experience. It will also offer beginner golfers more value for the money, as some golf courses have extremely expensive rates per game.
There may be resistance from the expert or pro golfers who don’t want to see the courses or the game change. But decades from now there must be a new group of golfers to take their place. And if that requires golf to adapt to new technologies, have shortened games, and a party atmosphere, then there may just be a new generation of players willing to drop lots of money on golf clubs, golf bags, golf trolleys, and other golfing products too.