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Growing the game


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#1 revkev

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:40 PM

Okay we've talked about it over in the equipment section but really what would it take for your friends who don't play to start playing?

Interestingly my casual golfer friends all say the same thing - Golf takes too long to play.

I tend to agree with them but the question is how do you make a round take less time while maintaining the challenge. I know that Jack has suggested shortening it to 12 holes or rolling back the ball to make the courses shorter. This might work for a new golfer but those of us who play will be left unsatisfied.

So what would you do to get your non-playing friends playing?
Driver TMag SLDR 12 Degree
Fairway woods Callaway xHot extremes
Hybrid Adams V4 23
Irons Wilson C 100 matrix studio 6.1 5-PW
Wedges SCOR 48, 53, 60 Genius graphite
wedge lies are 2 degrees flat, irons 1.5 degrees shafts 1/2" over standard
Putter Never Comprimise Vodoo Daddy 32.5"
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#2 BK in TEXAS

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

Lessons. My non-golf friends are leery of playing because they don't want to make a fool of themselves. How to get them to lessons is another story.

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Cobra AMP CELL PRO 10.5˚ Stock Shaft (Regular Flex)

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#3 Blade

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

I was going to start a similar thread, but this will do. Should be a good one RK.

I'm a good example. I got married in '92 right before I turned 22. My wife's sister got married a couple of months before us. Her husband started playing back then with a partner he had that got him into it. He talked about golf all the time and kept telling me I should try it. It was 16 years before I tried it for the first time and a couple more before I went again and decided I liked it. So here's why.

PERCEPTION! I thought it was an old man's, slow moving, boring game. (Although I've always been muscular and athletic, somehow I was never interested in sports and golf wasn't even a "sport" to begin with! But that's another story.) The other reason: I felt intimidated by it. I thought if anyone was on a golf course, they had to already know how to play and be much better than myself. Plus, I had no idea of the rules, etiquette, and I thought a set of clubs had to cost $1500 just to get started not to mention the cost and time to play. My eyes glazed over when anyone mentioned golf. I never gave it a consideration to even find out what it would take to start because I had zero interest in it.

The biggest reason for that perception? Golf on TV! The announcers whispering everything and everyone having to be dead still and quiet. I never watched a tournament, ever! Later, there were a few clips I saw of Tiger, and the crowds getting so excited, and the coverage seemed to be more lively than it used to be. I remember saying, Tiger is changing the game, even though I didn't follow it or him. Just the bits I saw like that were enough to break the ice for me to watch a clip or two.

So the first time I played, we were on a trip with my bro and sis-in-law to see the girls parents when I was 38. They insisted I play with them. I borrowed some clubs and went. My b-i-l got to where he played in the 70's to low 80's usually. I thought my f-i-l would be about the same having played even longer, so I was nervous about looking like an idiot. My first drive, everyone's standing there watching me. No hitting balls first or anything. I somehow hit a dead straight drive although not very long. The first thing I would do is throw the club away from me and then swing through with my arms cuz I had no idea how to swing. Heck, I never even played baseball in H.S. or anything. Well, after 13 holes I could hardly walk. I had been living with my back out of place and that was more than it could take. Somehow, for the holes we played, I scored better than my f-i-l my first time out. I figured out most people that play aren't very good at all, but it doesn't matter. Have fun!

A couple years later a friend who's played for about 13 years took me to an executive course and lent me his old clubs. Somehow I scored better than him also and he's never beat me any time we've played since. Go figure!

So I think I would have played sooner if someone had just explained some simple game and etiquette rules so I knew what to expect. Then just a touch of the basic chipping, pitching, swing fundamentals and take me to a range to get a feel first. I think starting someone on a par 3 course is the way to go. I bet I played that thing 50+ times before going to the "Big Boys course". Far less intimidating than drivers and par 5s. To really get someone going, spend some time pitching and chipping before even trying a full swing. Get the fundamental moves down somewhat at least. All you're thinking to start with is trying to hit that ball. The brain knows the best way to get there is over the top. The sooner a person understands "swing the club and just let the ball get in the way", the sooner they can keep that OTT move from becoming a terrible habit to break.

Anyway, I think golf coverage is far better than it was 15-20 years ago. If someone will give it a chance, it's not as boring to watch as it used to be, even if you don't play.

Well, I rambled, but that's what kept me from trying it sooner. Sure wish I had tried it 20 years ago! I've figured out, golf is definitely a sport! Plus that back problem I always had was from too much sitting in a machine or behind my desk and zero core strength. Swinging put it back in place and kept it there because of toning my core! If I go awhile without swinging, my back acts up again. Good reason to keep swinging huh?
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#4 JBones

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:43 PM

A raise, that's what my friends need to get started. Every one of my friends that don't play say they don't have the money to play golf.
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#5 SPY ZINGER

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:45 PM

I will second what JBones said with respect to money. But, it's not really for one round, it's to sustain a weekly game.

I believe the #1 factor for people I play with is the time it takes to play a weekend round coupled with parental duties/family time.

The way I combat this is playing close to the first group on Saturday mornings. Driving to the course, practicing, and playing 18 holes usually takes four hours total with this method. But, guys don't like waking up early on a Saturday either.

You either love the game, or a casual like. I love it, but not more than myself. #zingerlove
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#6 barbajo

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:24 AM

Been talking with my wife on and off for the past few years about getting her to try the sport -- same story as above: she doesn't want to invest the time. I tried telling her she could just play 9 holes, play at the par 3 course in town, see if her friends would like to do it, too. She's considered it, but doesn't want to invest the time, take lessons, buy stuff and then find out she doesn't like it.


Have had the same talk with my kids -- I think two of them will eventually pick the game up. #2 son is too into lacrosse and video games right now to think about anything else. #2 daughter will most likely be the player in the family!


This game takes time. We love it, so it's not time lost. Plus we got infected early...

What's in the bag:

Driver:  :callaway-logo-1:    XHot Pro, 9.50, Aldila Tour Green shaft, stiff
FW Wood:  :callaway-logo-1:  XHot Pro 2 Deep, 12.50, Aldila Tour Green shaft, stiff

Hybrids:  :cobra-small: Baffler 170, 190 & 220, Graphite Design shafts, stiff
Irons:  :srixon-small: Z-TX 3-PW, KBS Tour shafts, stiff
Wedges:  Carnahan 520,   :titelist-small: Vokey SM5 560 
Putter:  Wilson Staff Special 1 Forged


#7 SPY ZINGER

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:06 AM

I will also add, golf is my deal. You'll never catch me hanging out at bars with any frequency, spending much time with the guys off the course, or spending extra income on cocaine base nor do I cook methamphetamine.

Conversely, other friends of mine spend a considerable amount of time away from home on nights and weekends, unrelated to work. That's just not me. If I'm not at the gym or at the golf course, I am home. The time between 9:30-10:00 is critical for me to be home, as that is when I make nightly attempts to negotiate man and wife interactions. My success rate is usually only 50%, so it's critical I am hope to attempt nightly, but I digress. So my day to play is sacred, and my wife is ok with that.

My daughter is 4, and my son was just born over the summer. Commonly, I will have my wife drive to the course in a separate car, and we'll have lunch after I play, and I'll take my daughter out to the range/practice green. She loves it. Enjoys driving the cart, and it keeps her interest for at least an hour. I am trying to make golf our family centered activity even though my wife does not play.
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#8 whiskey golf

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:13 AM

I thought golf was for old people when I was smaller so I can see people thinking that. But the main thing would be time and the equipment. I can see someone going to a driving range for the first time or a golf shop and being overwhelmed by all the different types of equipment that people have even though you don't need that in the beginning.

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#9 revkev

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:28 AM

Keep it coming guys - I'm enjoying reading everyone's opinion here.

I'm thinking time and money but the lessons thing is a good point and truth be told if everyone stated with basic lessons that include a session on golf etiquette the time thing would improve exponentially.
Driver TMag SLDR 12 Degree
Fairway woods Callaway xHot extremes
Hybrid Adams V4 23
Irons Wilson C 100 matrix studio 6.1 5-PW
Wedges SCOR 48, 53, 60 Genius graphite
wedge lies are 2 degrees flat, irons 1.5 degrees shafts 1/2" over standard
Putter Never Comprimise Vodoo Daddy 32.5"
Bag. Nike Cart my best ever!
Ball Nike RZN Red

#10 SPY ZINGER

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:57 AM

Keep it coming guys - I'm enjoying reading everyone's opinion here.

I'm thinking time and money but the lessons thing is a good point and truth be told if everyone stated with basic lessons that include a session on golf etiquette the time thing would improve exponentially.

Should be like getting a hunting license.
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#11 parsave

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:46 PM

Warning! Long rant forthcoming...

I never did understand the USGA's approach to growing the game. I get the kids are the next generation of players (Obviously. Unless aliens arrive and start picking up the game kids are the future of anything) and you see kids out there but the fact is the ones playing are more an anomaly than anything. The game with it's rules and etiquette not to mention time and expense are not something conducive to most kids' nature. Don't get me wrong, I don't have any issue with programs like First Tee but in my observation the program looks like yet another activity that kids get dropped off to and are told "do this and that and we'll pick you up in an hour" kind of thing. Just like the thousands of other structured activities we subject our kids to and like every other activity it gets dropped because mom and dad are taking them to yet another and another and another. Nothing ever sticks but that's another topic.

Anyway, exposure is a good thing but in my opinion First Tee participants are not going to take up the game as adults in any greater proportion than the ones that didn't. Circumstances and opportunity as adults (don't forget, they are the ones with the money) will be growth or decline of the game. That said growth efforts should target the people already playing and spending their own money on the game. Encouraging them to become more like ambassadors and mentors. They are the one that are going to show the ropes to family, friends, co-workers, that sort of thing. Knowing that a raw beginner can get started with the minimum expense and not dropping them off into a Bethpage Black is something that we as active players already know how to do, regardless of handicap. I read some of the guys on here how they are introducing the game to their kids. Got started myself by caddying for my dad and granddad (when public courses allowed that sort of thing). That strategy has worked for a hundred years.

If the USGA wants to successfully grow the game perhaps they should start with the people that are actually spending the money and go from there. When the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks he replied "Because that's where the money is." Not saying we should follow the example of a gangster but we ignore the logic at our own peril.

#12 revkev

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:41 PM

Did find that to be a long rant parsave - what would you suggest that the USGA do to help in turning the casual golfer into a raving fan?
Driver TMag SLDR 12 Degree
Fairway woods Callaway xHot extremes
Hybrid Adams V4 23
Irons Wilson C 100 matrix studio 6.1 5-PW
Wedges SCOR 48, 53, 60 Genius graphite
wedge lies are 2 degrees flat, irons 1.5 degrees shafts 1/2" over standard
Putter Never Comprimise Vodoo Daddy 32.5"
Bag. Nike Cart my best ever!
Ball Nike RZN Red




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