Each member of our all-star panel – Golf Channel/Sirius XM’s Michael Breed, renowned swing guru Hank Haney, Golfweek’s Geoff Shackelford, Golf Channel/PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com’s Charlie Rymer, pro golfer/social media personality Paige Spiranac and Golf Tourism Solutions’ Bill Golden – offers their final take stemming from their most recent group discussion in Myrtle Beach.
I think the game of golf is in a situation where we always need to look at it to improve. I think what we need to understand is that everybody comes to the game of golf for a different reason, and in order for us to be successful in this game, we have to try to reach outside, think outside of the box and not do things in a status quo shape because we do have so many people that are coming to the game of golf for varieties of reasons, and we’ve got to figure out what we can do to embrace all that.
I actually think the game of golf is in a pretty good place. I just wish it would be a little more progressive. Let’s get outside the box. Let’s not do things exactly like we’ve always done them. Let’s try to make it even better than it already is because the opportunity is there.
If you come to Myrtle Beach, this guy is here now all the time. Give him a call, would you? Play golf with him. He needs friends, he needs golf partners, right, and you need dining partners.
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It’s been interesting to sit on this panel with the different perspectives that we’ve gotten here today, and we all certainly have strong opinions about which direction the game needs to be. We don’t all agree with the direction that the game needs to go, but what we do share is an amazing love and passion for the game. There’s no doubt about that, but to me, the main takeaway is let’s try something different.
Don’t be afraid to play a different set of tee markers, to try a different type of golf. If you go to the golf course every day and it’s the same thing over and over again, I think that can get boring. If you’re an operator, try something different. You might find something that works, and I think for all of us that love this game, that’s going to be the key moving into the future, some new things that maybe nobody’s thought about right now that are going to work and work really well.
I think there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to making golf better. I think there are things that we can improve on, but I think we need to stop thinking so critically on the little things. Does the ball go too far? Are these rules correct? What really does matter, and it’s the people who are just amateurs, normal people, we need to get them involved in golf, excited about golf, and I think it’s little changes that will make a big difference.
Well, one of my favorite sayings is “Don’t try to boil the ocean,” and sometimes in life, and certainly in this conversation about golf, it feels like we’re trying to boil the ocean. Some little changes, some changes to how we perceive and how we proceed I think is important, and I’ll just tell a quick story. I played golf in Toronto a few years ago at a daily fee course just north of Toronto. There were two golf professionals working the range, chatting people up, just having a good time, not really trying to sell anything, and handing off a few tips as they were. Everybody was having a great time. I went over to the putting green, and there were two racks of putters on the green, and nobody was really looking after them. I said, “Well, this is a great idea.” He says, “Yeah, I can’t sell a putter in the shop. I’ve got to sell this on the green.”
Little things, consumer engagement. Consumer engagement is key, and little things like that I think can begin to add up and make a difference.