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Monday
Oct232017

Top Aussies Chime In On Ways To Solve Golf's No. 1 Problem

Evin Priest does a nice job for Golf Digest Australia (thanks reader AM) talking to Adam Scott, Jason Day, Rod Pampling (Rampling in the online version) and Geoff Ogilvy about the best way to get kids into the game.

It's Junior Golf Week on Morning Drive so there are bound to be good ideas galore, but the four Aussies all have some great ideas. We'll just bite our tongues when Jason Day says the game takes too long. (He wants loops of holes designed into routings to foster shorter round options.)

Adam Scott on par-3 courses:

“I think growing up on a par-3 course was really beneficial. When you’re 5 or 6 years old and the holes are 80 or 100 yards, you can actually play them. It’s very hard to get a young kid, even 10 or 11, to play a 420-yard par 4 – it just seems like an unattainable goal to get it into a tiny hole at the end of that.

Day:

“Golf’s biggest challenge in the modern day is it just takes too long; young families with little kids don’t want to spend four, five or six hours on the golf course. They’d rather play a few holes and an hour is all they can possibly give up. Maybe if there were three-hole and four-hole loops on courses where they can go out for an hour and come back, they’d get on board. That’s how you can get introduced and fall in love with the game. And those who like it will transition into the 18-hole side."

Loved this from Ogilvy:

“I was so addicted when I was a kid because I had access. And is there a better place to drop your kids off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, considering the alternatives? Rather than the local shopping mall, terrorising the place. If they’re at the course, they’re hanging around generally respectable people learning how to behave around adults.”

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Reader Comments (30)

Ogilvy talks about dropping the kids off at the course to play all day. That doesn’t fly in today’s society unless there is an adult there to supervise them. If you just dropped the kids off you’d get in trouble very quickly today. Paying an adult to supervise isn’t a reasonable option for most people.

Times change.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterIMHO
Yes. Times change and infantilization continues apace. The adults are the people who work at the golf course. Which means the kids already must know how to behave, and listen to their parents' command that they are not to leave the place until they are picked up. Which is the larger part of the problem IMNSHO?
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Most golf clubs in this region have rules/restrictions regarding youth access to the golf course and all practice facilites....policies are generally based on age level and/or paren/adult supervision etc.....and there are also youth programs/instruction in the form of clinics and lessons as well as season long 'camps'.....but the 'dropping off' of kids for the day does not fly since unsupervised kids will eventually 'wander' and impact the adult members/golfers in a negative way.....so you have to get them into a program...more pay-to-play unfortunately.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
Title of the post is thought provoking. Not sure what I would say if asked what is golf's no. 1 problem, but young people's access and not having 4 hole courses are not on my list of choices.
As a young parent with 7 and 3 year old children, I should be in the coveted demographic of golf. However, that is not to be the case. I can't bring my children to play on a public course for the courses fear liability. Most morning golfers also don't want children around, as the golf course is a place to escape wives and children. We're essentially not welcome, unless I'm dropping five figures for a private club.

I have done my best to try and convince golf course operators to accommodate people like me, but they're not interested. In the past, I would eagerly spend four figure dollars a year for my golfing pursuit. Now, that money is being spent on my children's soccer and gymnastics activities, because at least children there are welcome.

Guess I'll hit the links in 30 years when I hit retirement age.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCD
Jason Day: “Golf’s biggest challenge in the modern day is it just takes too long; young families with little kids don’t want to spend four, five or six hours on the golf course."

The fact that he has the nerve to say this just cements my dislike for him even more. Wasn't it earlier in the year when he said "I don't care how long it takes me to play a shot." He'll be done in two years, maybe less.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon
@CD, could you explain to me why you think you are in the 'coveted demographic' despite the fact that course operators cannot be convinced to allow you to play?
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Ogilvy's golf course daycare solution is naive indeed. Also apply the "leading a horse to water" adage.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFC
The "dropping off" does not really apply to very young (like the 7 and 3 year olds he referenced above), but rather young teens, like 12 or 13 years old. At a club, they can go to the pool, play tennis, and hopefully play some golf - ideally with some of the golf supervised in some fashion. Could clubs reserve 2-3 in the summer and try to insert young teens to get on the course ? Yes, they should, even if it gives some retired members a little heartburn.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
BrianS, with all due respect are we really talking about or worried about the private club kids and their access? I think the bigger concern is all of the rest and how "they" can get access to golf courses. There are golf courses out there that do appreciate the youth population and that do want to make their facilities inviting and safe. Golf just needs to do a better job promoting these places. There was a great article highlighted on this site within the past few years about Stadium Golf Center in San Diego. There are others. Communities need to do a better job publicizing these facilities. Unfortunately I think it's only going to get worse because of the aggressive business model of sport specific academies that are convincing parents to stick with 1 youth sport for the entire year.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKPK
The reason golf takes too long is because of all the weekend hackers using routines like Day's/Spieth's. Thank God Kevin Na is not one of the best golfers out there, otherwise rounds would be 7 hours long. I agree fully with Brandon that the last person that should be talking about how long a round takes is Jason Day. He should lead by example and quicken up his pace.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterElChapin
Golf needs more fun for the kids. A large, competitive practice putting green can keep them going for hours. Like the one at St. Andrews. Meanwhile, you can put the driving range on the other side of it so the mothers and fathers can work on their game. After a while the kids will want to hit shots as well. Once you have that, you have a golfer for life.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTim M
You can drop off the kids and leave them here at Blairgowrie-and parents often do. We make sure they are looked after and provide the facilities they need. All for £75 a year. Not easy getting as many new recruits as we would like though.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico
I'm closing my eyes and visualizing my answer.

Might take all DAY.

Golf only takes too long BEHIND him
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Warne
I got addicted because I could earn money caddying, shagging balls, cleaning clubs, etc. And then going out and beating guys my father's age for $$$.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGate74
Day is becoming as big a joke as Bubba, and they both have done it by opening their mouths. Too bad, because they both seem likable, but thinking someone would be good to have a beer with is no criteria for a sound resume and great work habits.

As to 'dropping off' ~ It was regularly done at Lions Muny,-10-14 year olds, and at a coupe of the semi private clubs I played at, it was also a regular event, with some very nice looking ladies probably glad to have the house empty for a few hours.

I know it is a terrible thing, but the sot clock is headed for gold, just as sure as replay has invaded baseball, and the lights have come on at Wrigley Field. The pros have brought them on themselves.
Where is peer pressure from other pros to get the slow pokes moving? They's better wise up, or they will soon be whining about timing out for a second bad time 2 stroke penalty. And it sux having all that crap on a golf course. ~~dig~~
10.23.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Grew up in Spokane. When I was 12-13 started biking to the local muni with my bag over my shoulder. Could play and use facilities all day for $1. Many times I played with the old guys who played early. Enjoyed it and they tolerated me, too. It is what got me hooked on the game. We need more of that.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSportsDoc
When I was a 12-14 year old, I often spent 4+ hours a day in the summer at a local par-3 muni as it was $5 for 9 holes or $9 for unlimited play! We interacted with adults all the time and they not only tolerated us, but encouraged us.
10.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterRoger
In the Australian context the dropping the kids off would be referring to teenagers during school holidays, more than reasonable given that they are members of said club, often only for a few hundred dollars a year. Lots of school programs as well.
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJ21
Our club cost less than $300 Cdn for Juniors, and we have the drop off thing here all summer. By and large, the boys are great, but unfortunately they seem to quit once cars and girls become a thing...please note the gender reference, as we have not had more than 3 junior girls in a season in 15 years.
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
ElChapin, I think the elements for slow play are different for tour golf and hacking golf.

The pros know what they're doing in their rituals, while the hacker is stunned or clueless.
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFC
@CarlPetersen

I'm part of the millennial generation (born 1981 to 1997).

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/12/millennials-breathing-new-life-into-golf-and-heres-how-the-industry-is-responding.html
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCD
@FC

I don't disagree with you. The problem is the "clueless" hacker believes taking as long as the pro or "visualizing" a-la-Jason-Day will help his game. If the pros did less of this crap and simply hit the ball maybe more of the hackers would follow suit. And Wesley Bryan proved they can play fast and still shoot a competitive score if they really want to. The problem is these guys should really be playing 3 hour rounds (hey they hardly have to search for balls), but because they let them they end up playing 6 hour rounds. I am all for the shot clock in every tournament if it makes them play faster. Hopefully once pros play faster it will stop the hackers from their "routines" that do nothing for them. And don't get me wrong. I am a hacker. I spray the ball all over the place and do need to look for lost balls from time to time, but I can play a round quickly and can get around 9 holes in a little over an hour if no one is in the way. All you have to do is be quick about it. Take one good practice swing and hit.
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterElChapin
@CD

Sign up your kids in The First Tee program. If you are lucky you can play while the kid is in class. I do that at a scrappy 9-holer where I live. It is not quite where I would normally play, but great practice with my irons and chipping. I have now also started taking my daughter with me on the golf course (9 holes at par 3's only) and hopefully will be able to play with her in a year or two in regulation courses.
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterElChapin
@CD,

The conclusion that I would draw from your experience is that your desire to bring your kids to the golf course overrides your status as a Millennial

Have your millennial-buddies been burning up your phone with messages about their desire to head out to the course with you and your kids?
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
@CarlPeterson

Most of my millennial buddies believe that 1) a golf course is not appropriate for kids; and 2) I’m fool for even trying to change a course operators’ mind. Most of my millennial buddies have bought into the idea of the golf club as a place of exclusion—a place where they can continue fraternity hijinks and beer shotguns.

After traveling and playing in Scotland, I know that’s not true. The golf course is open to all. The clubhouse is only thing limited to members, and and I get that.

Guess it’s just another way we Americans messed up this beautiful game.
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCD
Perhaps you should move to Scotland (though I can't recall seeing a single 7 or 3yo on the course during any of my visits there).
10.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
I can drop my 8 year old off at my course and the little one plays 18 in a motorized buggy with an 80 year old gent.. It's that or watch the 13 year old play cricket in 35 degree heat for 6 hours.
Cheap snacks and drinks will keep them coming back. The bar /snack tab is often higher than the green fees
We do live 1600 km from a capital city.
And we are moving to the gold coast in 7 weeks and that kid won't leave my sight.
10.25.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith86
@Carl Peterson

Sounds like you've traveled only to the touristy golf courses in Europe. I've seen dogs and pets wander a golf course with their owners at Sunningdale. And have you never been to Gullane and their kids course?

I could move to Scotland, or we can make golf better here. We can make golf great again by draining the swamp of the obsolete views of exclusion. Harvey Penick said it best: "Golf is a game for everyone. Not just the talented few."
10.26.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDC
@DC, that is the first mention of a kids' course in this discussion. I think that would be a fine place for a 7 and 3yo in the same way that a Chuck-E-Cheese is a terrific place for those children to run around and screech between bites of chicken-ish grease nuggets.

I enjoyed '1', '2', and '3' at Gullane -- I preferred '2' over '1'.

CD (was 'DC' just a typo or are you different people?) seems to think that course operators should be falling over themselves to get him and his children to play. But, alas, they are not. I guess it's too much to ask a Millennial to be surprised that the rest of the world isn't waiting anxiously for his presence.
10.26.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson

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