"The game is more accessible and people are playing who normally wouldn’t be involved, which is awesome. With that comes different fashion choices, styles, and ways to play, which is a great way to grow the game of golf."
At my course you would see a guy come out with joggers and a backward hat, playing music and some of the members would be like “whoa, someone needs to talk to him!” Ultimately it would be determined that he’s not really hurting anyone or doing anything wrong, and some of those people would even say, “well, I think that’s actually how I would like to play my game."
And that’s where things started to change.
I work with a specific niché; players over the age of 12 who have shot under par in a tournament. My teaching is specific to elite tour players. That’s what I am passionate about, that’s where I find enjoyment and where I am most engaged. Half my time is spent with PGA and LPGA tour players and the rest is with elite junior players and college players moving into the pros. I enjoy developing the players not only on course, but off course as well. I try and help them find a balance, to be happy in life as well as in the game.
What’s happening now, at least in America, which wasn’t really happening when I was growing up, is now, there’s a place in golf for everyone. Anyone can find a place where they are comfortable to learn the game and get better. The game is more accessible and people are playing who normally wouldn’t be involved, which is awesome. What comes with that, is different fashion choices, styles, and ways to play, which is a great way to grow the game of golf. People are finding their own way. They’re finding their own groups and clubs of people who are like-minded and with the advent of social media its become easier for people to find where they will fit in.
I rarely play golf myself, since I stopped playing professionally 15 years ago, but when I do, its with my son or my buddies and its very chill and we grab some food and drinks. That’s the experience I want to have, and that’s what’s great about what’s happening now, people are creating their own experiences within the game and it’s bringing a lot of people into it. Before, you needed to learn how to play, get lessons, learn the rules, how to dress, create a handicap for yourself, all before stepping onto the golf course.
Now it’s not like that at all. You can play music, make friendly wagers, you don’t even have to keep score if you don’t want to. I think that’s really started to take hold within the last five years. Courses have started to recognize that’s how the next generation of golfers want to play their game. Some carts have speakers and TV’s and betting programs on the screens. Facilities are learning to accommodate the kind of players they want on their courses. At the very base level golf is a difficult game if you’re out there struggling. It’s difficult to not only get good but stay good. But once you have that great round, you’re addicted. Every round you’re going to have that one shot that you’re so excited about and it’s that incredible shot that will bring you back every time. If you’re just having fun you’re going to come back to it.