How can recreational game be more enjoyable?

Added on May 11th, 2013 by
Posted in General, Slow play

The FineGolf  Enjoyment day at Temple GC on Sept 10th will host a panel Q&A  with Donald Steel, Nick Park, Stuart McColm and Alistair Beggs (each the top UK expert in their own specialist field) leading a discussion on: 

“How to make recreational golf more enjoyable”.

We will be posing the interesting questions rather than trying to tell people what are the right conclusions.

We need to acknowledge that golf has major problems. Nevertheless until one agrees what the issues really are, defining the solutions (and agreeing them!) is difficult. 

Sir Mervyn King, talking about the dark days of the 2008 banking crisis said recently:

“Only when things look bleak will people get round to doing anything.” 

Well, this description might just apply to the USGA (Golf’s governance body in America), which at the US Open at Merion on June 12th announced its “Pace of Play” initiative.

We are all concerned about the amount of time it takes to have our golf experience in this modern age; for one of the Governance Authorities to act so decisively tells us much about the state of the game in the USA. According to USGA President, Glen Nager, golf there has been in retreat since 2003 – and rounds played in April 2013 were 15 % down on April 2012. 

Jack Nicklaus has been going on about this for some time – according to him, recreational golf has three main problems: too slow, too expensive and too difficult. See a video of Jack being interviewed. CLICK HERE – (the significant bit is from .59 minutes to 1.06) 

Yes, yes – but what are they going to do about it? 

Quite a lot, by the looks of it. For starters, they”ve put their backroom boys into a full project which is examining all the factors online pokies – player behaviour, player management, course design, course set up and so on. This will also look at the relative importance of each factor – but they”re some way from being able to promote real answers. Nonetheless, early findings suggest that course design and course set up play a much bigger role than has so far been recognised. (So will they look at the ball/distance issue in this context? They say they will). 

Coupled with diagnosing the problems, they”ve also begun a programme to educate golfers about aspects which are already known, featuring short TV ads. with such luminaries as Clint Eastwood and Arnold Palmer. 

One way or the other, golfers in the USA are going to hear a lot more about Pace of Play, and its poisonous impact on enjoyment, over the next few months and years. 

So what about those of us on this side of pond? Any of this sound familiar? A game in retreat, struggling to retain its customers, ‘the game and golf press’ focused on the top/elite game, driven by the equipment manufacturers? 

Wouldn”t hurt to talk about it, would it? At least try to distil a list of the factors which might be impacting in GB&I – and take a view on how the game might move forward? 

Here”s a few things which might be affecting your enjoyment of the game, especially if you like the FineGolf game : 

Pace of play

Cost of a round, cost of equipment

The ball/distance issue

Complexity of Rules

Performance of greens 

Add or subtract as you wish. But if you are interested in talking about it, why not come to FineGolf”s Enjoyment Day on September 10th at Temple GC in Berkshire, and join our Panel of experts for a lively Q&A debate?  Book your place by emailing 

Someone has to get the ball rolling…

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