GCMA Chief Executive Tom Brooke believes shorter and different formats could help widen the appeal of the club game…
Golf fans across the globe were treated to a double whammy of international team golf in September, with both the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup taking place within weeks of each other.
Personally, I think having the events back-to-back on the calendar has been great and perhaps something for the organisers to consider for the future. Of course, it was very much mixed fortunes for Team Europe and two very different contests.
Whilst the Solheim Cup was an exciting battle until the end, the men’s event was only ever going to go one way if you base it on World Rankings, and indeed that is exactly what happened! I was so pleased to see Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood win their singles matches, though, and you could see what it meant to them.
I’m convinced that team and match play formats should play a much bigger role in golf, not just at elite level, but more importantly, at club level.
The excitement and passion that we see during the Ryder and Solheim Cups, from players and fans alike is really unique and we just don’t see anything like it with standard medal and individual formats.
A few weeks ago, we hosted a GCMA Hot Topics webinar with Richard Payne from SMS. Richard presented to us some really useful data on participation trends over the past 18 months.
We’ve attracted a younger audience to our clubs during the pandemic and now, as our attentions turn towards retaining them, we have to recognise that this new market will have different interests and demands.
As someone who (just!) sits within that demographic, I would certainly be attracted to some more engaging, social, team based golf, perhaps even bringing in shorter 9-hole formats. Time for change, let’s make golf more fun, more sociable and more engaging and grab that opportunity whilst we still can!
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