Don’t Let the Old Put off the Young

The first Major of the season is down and what a scintillating performance from winner Jordan Spieth.

His dominance may have denied us a nail-biting climax come Sunday night, but his victory, and the manner in which he did it, is the perfect kick start to the season.

The 21-year-old’s victory not only bags him a nice new jacket but also propels him to number two in the world behind Rory McIlroy a man just four years his senior.

This means that for the first time, certainly in my lifetime (I’m below 35) the top two golfers in the world are aged 25 and under…so much for golf being ‘an old man’s sport’ something I still hear in some uneducated corners (most notably my fiancée).

It still bugs me that there are people out there who believe this to be true and makes me wonder if enough is being done to remove this stigma.

I have no doubt that brands and those within the industry are doing plenty as I see it day in, day out. I also know of many clubs introducing schemes such as flexible memberships to encourage the younger generation to pick up the clubs.

However, my fear is the older membership of these golf clubs are putting off the youngsters by sticking to their old ways, being unwelcoming and enforcing their own old fashioned rules in an abrupt and often obnoxious manner.

Playing golf this weekend the fourball I was in had to wait perhaps two or three minutes on tees for the group in front to clear the fairway. I must stress we were only waiting on the tee, once we were off we didn’t wait again.

Watching the group ahead I could see there was a chap there who clearly hadn’t been playing for too long and was struggling with the fundamentals of the game. Giving him a few minutes to get the ball down the fairway was not a problem for three of us.

However, the senior golfer in the group was getting rather irate and as we crossed paths when we walked to the tee box and they were coming up the fairway he couldn’t hold his tongue.

“You know you’re holding us up? Get a move on or let us through?” I heard him say.

Obviously this chap is too used to playing during the week when the course is clear as everyone else is at work.

It really wound me up and I had to tell him that he’s half the reason people don’t like taking up golf because dinosaurs like him reprimand them for little or no reason at the first opportunity.

With so much going on within the industry it pains me when I see or hear senior golfers getting uppity over little things with younger golfers.

Are we looking in the wrong places when trying to encourage the next generation to start playing golf? Maybe some need phasing out before others come in?

I certainly wouldn’t be playing with that gentleman anymore…if he weren’t my father!!

Matt MillardMatt Millard
Head of Communications

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1 Response to Don’t Let the Old Put off the Young

  1. Dave Gosling says:

    Great piece Matt and lovely twist at the end. You’ve hit on a few very important points here, I coach loads of kids, juniors, youngsters and have had so, so many instances of this sort of behaviour and these comments made. I remember my son waiting on the tee for 45 minutes letting 5 groups of adults tee off ahead of him before he and his friend tee’d off. Then the group of adults went to the tee and had a go at them. The lads were about 10 years old, so an easy target and the men assumed they couldn’t play and would be slow, not knowing the lads had handicaps under 20.
    Ladies, juniors and beginners need time, space and consideration and established golfers need to show tolerance and be a little more welcoming in general. Then the participation numbers might grow and the health of the game begin to be restored, but that means more people on THEIR course, so that’s the conundrum.

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