Why is golf making it hard for people to like it?

At a grass roots level there is some great work being done and before I continue with this blog / rant, congratulations to Matt Edgar! Winner of The Golf Foundation’s Sinclair Award for bringing more juniors into the game on a massive scale! Congratulations!

So we’re (most coaches) doing our job with a number of schemes such as Get into Golf and our Family Golf Course at Horton Park. So why are there others out that that insist on making it hard for new players to get involved and even juniors to enjoy the sport?! Here are a couple of things this weekend that got me writing…

 

Lets start on a local level. Here’s are some results from a junior club (not ours) championship:

 

White Tees

1st – Freddy (22) 39 points

5th – Monty (15) 28 points

DQ – Luke (22) DQ – Card Not Signed

 

OK, first of all congratulations to Freddy (who worked hard all week) and Monty playing off 15 for the first time, great golf this weekend! You’ll notice Luke (who had 33 points) was disqualified for not signing his card. These boys are barely 10 years old by the way. Have you spotted the 2 mistakes?

Lets start at the top. I don’t care how good junior players are, at the age of 10, juniors shouldn’t be playing a 6603 yard golf course. Despite some of these kids driving the ball 200 yards, there are a number of holes they cant reach in regulation and most par 3s require driver or 3 wood. What pros are hitting driver on a par 3?! If you’re teeing off with a driver, its not a par 3! Start nearer the hole! This goes for adults as well!

I agree with US Kids and our UK Golf League events are set up in a similar fashion. Age 10, 9 holes, 2500 yards. I won’t harp on about distance too much, Ive already done that (click here)!

 

 

Bearing in mind I’ve seen juniors cheat (usually as they are worried about their handicap and are under pressure to perform from various parties – thats a blog for another month), what good does it do disqualifying honest players (Luke wasn’t the only one) for something as petty as signing their card. These kids have so much going on in their head already. “What club do I need?” “Where should I aim?” “What did my coach say?” “What will my mum/dad think?” “Whats the cup final score?” “Do I have food in my bag?” “Why has he got a newer driver than me?” “Oh no, I’ve got homework tonight.” and more! Then we’re asking them to score (with handicaps for 2 players) and once they’ve done all that, they need to remember to sign the card. Have you seen a junior signature? It’s just their name in attempted cursive (joined up, leant that from my 6 year old daughter) writing. Their name is already on the top of the card.

I understand that they need to learn this as well, but is this really the most important thing at this age? Even in our regional professional events, our card is checked. Surely reminding the juniors to sign it would be fine, especially after they have practiced all week and played 5 hours of golf in 30 degrees!

 

However, what really started my blog was this:

No Photos

12th Tee at Wentworth for the BMW Championships. A superb driving hole and Alvaro Quiros and Nicolas Colsaerts are approaching, two of the biggest hitters in the game! Great chance for a video of these exciting swings to show our juniors and grow their love of the sport. However, discreetly filming with a silent phone camera with no flash is not allowed. Hang on, didn’t we just have a GolfSixes event with the crowd asked to cheer on the tee during the shot? And whats this in Phoenix (the highest attended golf event)? People shouting and cheering (insert shocked emoji).

In a world completely dominated by social media, why cant we share our experiences and let more people enjoy the main event of the European Tour? The players are a great example and are always on hand to dish out golf balls and pose for photos with the kids. Then via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram we might draw new players to the game who didn’t get the chance to attend these events or didn’t think watching golf was exciting enough.

Rant over, its getting late!

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