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Golf Australia Express : Launch
By OTG Editor-in Chief, Damian Shutie VIEW THE L et’s face facts. Golf is still viewed by many as a stale, boring game played by old men in beige outfits of which even our grandparents would stay clear. Of course, you and I both know that’s not a true reflection of where golf’s currently at, particularly on the fashion front. And, really, who cares what these people with no affection for this great game think of those of us who play it? Well, me for one. You see, somewhat tragically, these are the very people we need to attract to golf. We need to get them playing casually if not regularly. We need to get them watching the sport. And we need to get them spending their hard-earned on the world’s true lifestyle sport. Problem is, golf is stale and boring. At least sometimes. And if those of us who live and breathe the game are capable of holding such views, it seems pretty clear something needs to be done to secure and encourage new members of the younger generation to play long-term. Inclusive and appealing is the new way. No longer is being exclusive a thing to celebrate—it’s really a burden; a proverbial rod for golf’s back in an age where numbers mean everything for sponsors, advertisers and golf manufacturers. The reality is sport is part of Big Business and each sport needs to expose itself to a wider range of demographic than ever before to remain successful. Of course, this would require a major shift in thinking for an industry renowned for being anti-change. But the beautiful thing is we’re already seeing signs of the revolution gaining pace. Not from the game’s administrators, but from the players themselves. And it’s exciting for the future of golf. Many tour players have started this wave of change through wearing individual and expressive clothing on course (think Crane, Poulter, Daly and Moore as examples). Even more are doing it through their on-course strategies, opting to play a more exciting, go-for-it brand of golf rather than the conservative course management approach we’ve seen for decades. (McIlroy, Fowler, Day and Ishikawa spring to mind.) In that respect, Phil The Thrill was a standout of his generation and it’s no wonder why he has the strongest fan base on the PGA Tour. And don’t forget the one and only Seve (rest his soul), who was a pioneer of fun golf— just listen to the esteem in which he’s still held in all circles of golf. The women’s tours—the LPGA and the LET—are leading the way when it comes to focusing on having fun. Take the Kraft Nabisco Championship for instance. Part of the winning tradition is to jump fully clothed into Champions Lake while being sprayed with champagne. Fun. The men’s coinciding major is The Masters, which has a tradition of the defending champ holding a green jacket while the new winner puts it on. Yawn. Not so much fun. By far the most extroverted example of ‘funning’ up golf must be the Golf Boys—Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan. If you haven’t yet seen them in action, watch the video on the left. We challenge you not to wet yourself laughing. So long as we continue to support those players and so- called renegades who make this game more enjoyable for us all, this great game will continue to grow. And here at OTG, we eat, sleep and breathe that philosophy. Fun times, indeed. EMAIL YOUR THOUGHTS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org BRINGING THE FUN BACK How can golf revamp its image as a stale, old man’s game? The answer lies simply in ‘funning it up’. Imagine playing here in Chiang Mai at Chiang Mai Highlands Or Hua Hin playing Black Mountain Pattaya, playing Siam Country Club Or Phuket playing at Red Mountain (Click on any of the pictures above to get golf week destination details) 8 SUPERB EVENTS Which one will you play? Tailored golf packages also available www.thailandgolftours.com.au Thailand Golf Tours A Unique Golf Experience