Uh, that's it? This one needs some work folks. It isn't up to the usual MSG standards. I've seen video clips of Chris when he really gets into it, and he is much more engaged and really interesting to listen to. Much more than he was in this question/answer session. This wasn't close to his best or yours. Maybe you had a different objective than what I was expecting when I read the introduction. Maybe this feature needs to transition to a video interview. Could you start with a Skype connection like you use with Tony for No Putts Given? Anyway, YES I am interested in learning more about the people in the business, but this isn't the ticket. Folks I want to hear more from in the future? Dave Pelz on effective practice. Ben Crenshaw on design. Kim Braly on shaft evolution. And a dozen more I won't bore you with.
With regard to the last question to Chris about growing the game. We all know that young people have to get into golf or it will slowly die. Last summer I think I saw the future that will save golf. It will engage youngsters, but it will also change the game. It was in Campbell River, B.C., Canada of all places. A guy who made a bazillion dollars (Canadian dollars, but still a bazillion) came home to Campbell River, bought an old course, and started pouring large buckets of money in. He shut it down for a year and totally rebuilt the course. He has a four or five story hotel underway on an adjacent property. He also built a new "clubhouse", that isn't really a clubhouse so much as an extensive entertainment/recreation center fronting onto the driving range. He included a small pro shop to put people on the course, a very good restaurant in a "bar food" sense that also has stuff kids love, and about eight hitting bays hitting into the driving range that are state of the art equipped with high end launch monitor systems and large displays. They have comfortable seating for about six to eight people, and remind me of old-time bowling alleys where everyone had a beer and was really engaged socially. In fact the atmosphere was much like the bowling alleys I remember as a youngster.
Everything was first class. The driving range, the restaurant, the fixtures, the simulator set ups, the rental equipment, the staff. When we drove into the parking lot initially a "greeter" was out there to welcome us, help us get our clubs out of the car, and answer questions about the course and facilities. And this person really KNEW golf. It was so out of the norm that it was almost unsettling. We were there on a Thursday and stayed for about six hours to watch the U.S. Open on TV in the restaurant. We ended up stuffing our faces with a LOT of good food and a few beers. The facility was incredible. Every single hitting bay was busy every single minute we were there - mid week, middle of the day. There were a lot of families, including a LOT of kids. They were so excited about the golf, it was infectious. We were hearing things like "When I get to play on a real golf course, I'm going to..." It was like nothing I've ever seen on at a golf course before. The hitting bays fronting on the driving range are even heated and sheltered so they will be comfortable in the winter. It was sort of a high class, mini Top Golf carried to the extreme in a small town in British Columbia.
I had a chance to talk to the owner at length. He was very busy with this gigantic project he has going, but he took the time to talk to me - a visitor who was just having lunch and watching his big-screen TVs for free. (We did end up playing two rounds of golf there that week. The course was immaculately conditioned, though not the sternest test even in Campbell River) He was totally enthusiastic and very transparent about his project and business model. I commented about all the families that were there. No accident, he told me - his pricing actually allows a family to come in for a couple hours for less than the cost of taking the kids to the movies (not counting all the food and drinks they consume). His marketing approach was very impressive, with special birthday party sessions available, etc. His idea was that this is an entertainment center, focused on golf. He was busy setting up leagues for the winter months, which in Campbell River B.C. are real winter.
THAT IS THE SORT OF THING THAT WILL GROW THE GAME - MAYBE EVEN SAVE IT.
I know this is way too long a post, but I had to share this with someone who really cares about the game.