To feel golf’s future vibe, turn up the volume, dude
I recently participated in a general rules meeting with some other officials. One of them is a minority partner with a group that owns a public-access golf course. The notion of the USGA's new standards of player conduct was a part of the discussion.
This particular ownership group seems to be uncomfortable with players who listen to music, wear their hats backwards and leave their shirts untucked. My question was whether or not these offensive Cro-Magnons paid proper green fees. “Of course,” was the reply. “Everybody has to pay.”
Well, then, what's the problem? These players are most likely the future of golf. If you restrict your marketing efforts to 70-year-old men, your golf course will be a short-lived operation.
I am not saying that you should not have some modicum of a dress code. Sleeveless T-shirts and short shorts might be banned (unless, of course, you play on the LPGA tour), but hats and shirt tails? C'mon, man!
The future is showing up daily at Topgolf and other so-called driving-range entertainment centers. Course operators should be concentrating on this segment of the public, and sell their golf-course experience as an extension of the range. Or, you can continue with your insistence on maintaining stale old traditions until you putt out for the final time.
St. Augustine, Fla.
(Kavanagh is a senior rules official with the Florida State Golf Association.)
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