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How Golf is Moving Into the Modern Era


BruceTommy
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Golf has long been an old-fashioned game, reflected in how golf clubs are operated, the way in which tournaments work and even the expected dress code. If you’re playing on a proper course, not a minigolf venue, then casual clothes just won’t be accepted. So, how has golf moved forward over time and is there room for more movement in the future?

 

Gambling

 

One of the biggest ways in which golf has progressed is with the acceptance of sports betting. This was first seen in 2019, when gambling sponsors were allowed at PGA events. It was this acceptance that demonstrated that the greater golfing fraternity no longer believed that gambling would lead to the integrity of the sport being tarnished. This is something that has also taken place in the NFL in recent times, with a softer approach being taken to sports gambling. In response to this, there has been an influx of sports gambling sites offering support to golf events.

 

It’s not just in terms of sponsorship, though. The stats that are gathered on golfing events are also used by online sportsbooks in the modern world, which means that many more betting options are available to people who enjoy sports gambling. This has made sports betting a much bigger phenomenon and has helped to enhance the viewing experience for golf fans.

 

Social media

 

Of course, social media can have a negative influence on the world, with online trolling being one of the worst things that can happen to a person. However, social media in general can also have a positive impact on the world. A great example of this would be professional golfers being able to interact directly with their fans – people who would normally never have the opportunity to talk to their heroes can now do so via social media.

 

It means that golf has become more accessible to the public. This obviously helps it to become a much larger sport in comparison to other popular sports. While it’s unlikely that golf will ever be able to compete with the biggest sports in the world, such as soccer and the NFL, there is still room for it to grow. Social media could well provide one of the biggest routes for this to take place. By utilizing the natural room for growth that’s available, it will allow individual golfers to attract fans who are outside of the normal demographic.

 

Social media also allows golf tournaments to reach far more people – in terms of coverage – purely by virtue of social media accounts. This is an area that demands immediate attention, as other sports will obviously have similar ideas.

 

Speed of play

 

This is definitely an aspect where golf has difficulty competing, but cricket is a great example of a sport that succeeded in bringing a more exciting version of the game to viewers. With golf tournaments usually taking four days at a time to be completed, there’s not much of a requirement for fast-paced action to take place.

 

Golf competitions are still slow and laborious events. This means that if golf wants to keep up to or compete with some of the more intense sports out there, it needs to find a way to speed up the event and make it more exciting.

 

One idea that has been discussed is to halve the amount of time required for play. For example, instead of playing a tournament over 72 holes, play it over 36. It means that the cut-off would take place after 18 holes instead of 36. This doesn’t just speed up the process of the tournament itself but also brings in the incentive for more adventurous shots earlier on. This increases tension and makes it a more exciting event.

 

Gender equality

 

This topic is often met with mixed opinion. Firstly, bringing golf up to date and allowing men and women to compete against each other in tournaments might not be a sensible option – there are still the differences in physical strength that might make this a little impractical. However, there is nothing stopping golf clubs from allowing women to join.

 

The practice of excluding women from membership is becoming less widespread, but there are still some clubs that will not allow female members. This is definitely an outdated tradition that golf needs to change in order to catch up with modern times. Hopefully it will be relegated to the history books within the next few years and golf can become a truly inclusive game.

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10 hours ago, BruceTommy said:

If you’re playing on a proper course, not a minigolf venue, then casual clothes just won’t be accepted. 

Right, because casual clothes are not high brow enough...lol.

As long as a person's clothes are clean, with no rips, stains or holes, I see no problem with wearing what you want... within certain parameters, of course.

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I'm not sure if I am part of the solution or part of the problem on "how to move golf into the Modern Era". 

I consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to golf... but maybe better tagged as "Enlightened Traditionalist". 

  • I prefer to wear collared shirts, long pants (usually slacks), dress golf shoes
    • but I don't mind what others wear - be comfortable. 
  • I don't really care for the Sportsbook Betting environment being created - though I do recognize that it increases engagement by a larger group of spectators that have some "skin in the game" while a tourney is going on. 
    • But is that increased engagement a positive or a negative?  I can't say.  I personally wouldn't bet on Golf - but to each their own.  I would, however bet on myself...
  • I like to have a side game going on with my playing partners or even a larger group, but I prefer straight forward games like low score (gross/net), skins and maybe a Nassau
    • But don't take it too seriously... it is just pocket change, and I never let it slow down my pace of play.
  • I am part of the MGS Staff... so I am a part of the social media direction of Golf.  I would agree, the various social media platforms provides a lot of information to a lot of eyes...
    • But with that should come a warning of caution... as it is easy to fall into the trap of "It must be true... I saw it on the internet (or social media as the case may be)"
  • I'm a traditionalist, 72 holes, 'nuff said
    • Want a "more exciting" golf event... watch The Match.  But IMHO - there is a plenty of excitement and a certain majesty of a 4 day/72 hole event.  The strategy combined with how your golf game can change from day to day (as we have all experienced) provides all the fireworks I need. 
    • Also, shortening the event doesn't speed up the pace of play, it just shortens the length of the total event by 2 days. If what you are saying is true about shortening the event to create more urgency and taking more chances with shots COULD actually slow down the pace of play as players "go for it" and find themselves searching for errant shots, or taking drops or getting officials rulings... instead of laying up, using the "fairway finder" drive, and playing to the safe side of the green.
  • Women deserve equal rights and treatment on and off the golf course.
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14 hours ago, BruceTommy said:

One idea that has been discussed is to halve the amount of time required for play. For example, instead of playing a tournament over 72 holes, play it over 36. It means that the cut-off would take place after 18 holes instead of 36.

Hmm interesting but don't think I'd agree with that.

Something I'd like to see -- a shot clock!

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12 hours ago, Golfspy_TCB said:

I'm not sure if I am part of the solution or part of the problem on "how to move golf into the Modern Era". 

I consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to golf... but maybe better tagged as "Enlightened Traditionalist". 

  • I prefer to wear collared shirts, long pants (usually slacks), dress golf shoes
    • but I don't mind what others wear - be comfortable. 
  • I don't really care for the Sportsbook Betting environment being created - though I do recognize that it increases engagement by a larger group of spectators that have some "skin in the game" while a tourney is going on. 
    • But is that increased engagement a positive or a negative?  I can't say.  I personally wouldn't bet on Golf - but to each their own.  I would, however bet on myself...
  • I like to have a side game going on with my playing partners or even a larger group, but I prefer straight forward games like low score (gross/net), skins and maybe a Nassau
    • But don't take it too seriously... it is just pocket change, and I never let it slow down my pace of play.
  • I am part of the MGS Staff... so I am a part of the social media direction of Golf.  I would agree, the various social media platforms provides a lot of information to a lot of eyes...
    • But with that should come a warning of caution... as it is easy to fall into the trap of "It must be true... I saw it on the internet (or social media as the case may be)"
  • I'm a traditionalist, 72 holes, 'nuff said
    • Want a "more exciting" golf event... watch The Match.  But IMHO - there is a plenty of excitement and a certain majesty of a 4 day/72 hole event.  The strategy combined with how your golf game can change from day to day (as we have all experienced) provides all the fireworks I need. 
    • Also, shortening the event doesn't speed up the pace of play, it just shortens the length of the total event by 2 days. If what you are saying is true about shortening the event to create more urgency and taking more chances with shots COULD actually slow down the pace of play as players "go for it" and find themselves searching for errant shots, or taking drops or getting officials rulings... instead of laying up, using the "fairway finder" drive, and playing to the safe side of the green.
  • Women deserve equal rights and treatment on and off the golf course.

I had never really thought of it before, but after reading Golfspy_TCB's response, I would have to consider myself an "Enlightened Traditionalist" as well.

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On 11/25/2022 at 5:11 AM, BruceTommy said:

One idea that has been discussed is to halve the amount of time required for play. For example, instead of playing a tournament over 72 holes, play it over 36. It means that the cut-off would take place after 18 holes instead of 36. This doesn’t just speed up the process of the tournament itself but also brings in the incentive for more adventurous shots earlier on. This increases tension and makes it a more exciting event.

Who has discussed this? I’ve never heard of this discussion/proposal.

It has to be the silliest idea I’ve heard. There is no need for a cut at 18 if only playing 36 holes. Golfers have had bad opening 18 and a great second 18 to make a cut or vice versa to miss.

Even if 36 holes was the limit there is no need to have a cut, may the best golfer of 150 or so win after 36 holes.

With that said 36 holes of golf unless it’s match play is just dumb. It won’t attract more fans and probably drives many away.  Several of the lpga tournaments are 54 hole and it doesn’t increase their viewership. 
Also professional golf is different from what most amateurs participate in. Cutting golf tournaments to 36 holes won’t grow the game 

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5 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Who has discussed this? I’ve never heard of this discussion/proposal.

It has to be the silliest idea I’ve heard. There is no need for a cut at 18 if only playing 36 holes. Golfers have had bad opening 18 and a great second 18 to make a cut or vice versa to miss.

Even if 36 holes was the limit there is no need to have a cut, may the best golfer of 150 or so win after 36 holes.

With that said 36 holes of golf unless it’s match play is just dumb. It won’t attract more fans and probably drives many away.  Several of the lpga tournaments are 54 hole and it doesn’t increase their viewership. 
Also professional golf is different from what most amateurs participate in. Cutting golf tournaments to 36 holes won’t grow the game 

I would add that it would lead to much more conservative play vs more exciting play. If there is s cut after a round no point in going hard for it as one bad hole and you're done. Probably leads to more WD as well. 

More holes gives the ability to get back in it after a bad hole. Not to mention for the money these guys play for they should be playing 72. Also if 72 is too much to watch... Just watch Saturday Sunday. 

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16 minutes ago, GolfSpy_APH said:

I would add that it would lead to much more conservative play vs more exciting play. If there is s cut after a round no point in going hard for it as one bad hole and you're done. Probably leads to more WD as well. 

More holes gives the ability to get back in it after a bad hole. Not to mention for the money these guys play for they should be playing 72. Also if 72 is too much to watch... Just watch Saturday Sunday. 

Maybe golf should take a page out of the Savannah Bananas book and completely change the game like they did to baseball.    Money payouts after each round instead of after the final round.  Long drive in the fairway and closest to the pin payouts.   Friday and Saturday just get you to the weekend and all scores are reset.  Bring out the shot clock;  I thought it was great in the European tours that did this.  

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25 minutes ago, GolfSpy_APH said:

I would add that it would lead to much more conservative play vs more exciting play. If there is s cut after a round no point in going hard for it as one bad hole and you're done. Probably leads to more WD as well. 

More holes gives the ability to get back in it after a bad hole. Not to mention for the money these guys play for they should be playing 72. Also if 72 is too much to watch... Just watch Saturday Sunday. 

Exactly. No need to cost yourself money and yeah if you only like 70ish golfers over 36 just watch the weekend or wait til Sunday and just watch top groups 

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The 54 hole format used by the Champions Tour works really well IMO.  I think the tour could adopt this format on all or part of the seasons non-majors without a dent in the bottom-line.   In answer to the OP, 

On 11/25/2022 at 3:11 AM, BruceTommy said:

So, how has golf moved forward over time and is there room for more movement in the future?

Yes and yes.  Like it/them or not LIV is testing out new formats.  I suspect at some point other tours will adopt some of these, and some new ones, that appeal to players and fans.  The game looks and feels much different now then when I started playing 50+ years ago.

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28 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

The 54 hole format used by the Champions Tour works really well IMO.  I think the tour could adopt this format on all or part of the seasons non-majors without a dent in the bottom-line.   In answer to the OP.

How does that not cut ad revenue by 25%? They can't just raise $/min as viewers can only watch 75% of the former 72 holes.

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7 minutes ago, Middler said:

How does that not cut ad revenue by 25%? They can't just raise $/min as viewers can only watch 75% of the former 72 holes.

For me I don't understand why we need less than 72 holes for any professional event? Okay I get senior tour, LIV and some others however the main tour should be 72. Sure other aspects could be added (I still like a team aspect) however 54 holes I don't believe is going to increase viewership. Better viewing experiences (fewer commercials) will help. Or even just better viewing times or options such as following players or anything really that the masters does. 

Pace of play could help, but the format I dont believe is wrong. Other sports look at bettering the viewing experiences. Golf seems to be content in much of it's traditional viewing which is where I think changes should occur. Not in how the tournaments themselves are done or held or played.

 

 

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If it is about viewership numbers, I feel the tour has done a good job catering to the majority of viewers.  There are those that enjoy watching the first group tee off and the last group putt on 18 (I fall into this category more than not) and others that only have an hour to invest in the broadcast.  With the advent of the Golf Channel, it has allowed for more full tourney coverage (not to mention coverage of the LPGA, Champions, DP World, US AM, US MidAM, College events and a myriad of other golf programming)... then they kick it over to the network to show the final groups coming down the stretch.  A viewer can choose which event and how much of the event they want to watch.  I don't see any reason to shorten professional tournaments to less than 72 holes.  In my mind it would be similar to playing 9 holes a day rather than 18... it isn't complete to the tradition of a golf tournament.  

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17 minutes ago, Middler said:

How does that not cut ad revenue by 25%? They can't just raise $/min as viewers can only watch 75% of the former 72 holes.

It doesn't automatically cut revenue by 25%.  Further, they could add an event or two, or three over the season that may more than make up for whatever revenue reduction a 54 hole format incurs.  I mean if it's all about revenue, why not look at 90 hole events?  

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Just now, fixyurdivot said:

It doesn't automatically cut revenue by 25%.  Further, they could add an event or two, or three over the season that may more than make up for whatever revenue reduction a 54 hole format incurs.  I mean if it's all about revenue, why not look at 90 hole events?  

100 hole hike Challenge! 

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3 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

It doesn't automatically cut revenue by 25%.  Further, they could add an event or two, or three over the season that may more than make up for whatever revenue reduction a 54 hole format incurs.  I mean if it's all about revenue, why not look at 90 hole events?  

If you cut playing time by 25%, how are you making up ad revenue? Of course it’s ultimately about revenue, broadcasters and sponsors aren’t charities.

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1 minute ago, GolfSpy_APH said:

100 hole hike Challenge! 

Why not. We already have "Speed Golf".  I watched a group play this format in ID some years back and recall saying to myself... what's the point?

 

1 minute ago, Middler said:

If you cut playing time by 25%, how are you making up ad revenue? Of course it’s ultimately about revenue, broadcasters and sponsors aren’t charities.

I answered that question. 

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58 minutes ago, Middler said:

How does that not cut ad revenue by 25%? They can't just raise $/min as viewers can only watch 75% of the former 72 holes.

29 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

It doesn't automatically cut revenue by 25%.  Further, they could add an event or two, or three over the season that may more than make up for whatever revenue reduction a 54 hole format incurs.  I mean if it's all about revenue, why not look at 90 hole events?  

26 minutes ago, Middler said:

If you cut playing time by 25%, how are you making up ad revenue? Of course it’s ultimately about revenue, broadcasters and sponsors aren’t charities.

24 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

I answered that question. 

There are already “48 official PGA tour events a year.” So two or three wouldn’t begin to make up the lost ad revenue, it would take 16 new events - which would make an impossible 64 54-hole tournaments a year. Furthermore they’d have to cut the purse on most if not all tournaments, they’re not going to add 16 new tournament purses on top of the existing 48. So you’d degrade the field in the process, the marquee players aren’t going to show up more often to your proposed “dentless” solution. Why would the PGA weaken fields, lose revenue and emulate LIV?

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

The 54 hole format used by the Champions Tour works really well IMO.  I think the tour could adopt this format on all or part of the seasons non-majors without a dent in the bottom-line.   In answer to the OP, 

That’s one less day of commercials/advertising dollars. The tour isn’t going to give that up. Just look at what they did with the match play event and using pool play so that the bigger names are guaranteed to be around for 3 days which keeps viewership higher and thus can generate better as revenue and sponsorship dollars. PGA tour golf is a money machine 

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