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Golf Australia Express : Issue2
By Sam Gole VIEW THE W e need characters playing golf at the top level to keep— and drive—interest in the game. But where have all the characters gone? How often do you hear that question about today’s players. Perhaps it was phrased ‘Who are the characters on Tour today?’ Or ‘Who will spark a level of excitement with enough vigour to take golf to the masses?’ They’re all the same. In bygone eras, names like Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart and Seve Ballesteros ruled the fairways and owned galleries. Willingly or not, they took golf to the masses. They grew the game. Expressive, passionate and inventive describes their games and personalities. And of equal importance back then, they were like that on the course as well as off it. They drew a level of energy from having a close connection with their followers and used this power for their benefit. This connection also drew fans to the course to see them in action and to courses later to mimic them. So what is so different about today’s tour scene? For starters players have less opportunity to rub shoulders, get a pat on the back or share a quip or two with their fans. Instead, they are positioned in the centre of a protective shelter by an entourage of “experts” and practically untouchable to the public. A manager, psychologist, physiotherapist, nutritionist, publicist and golf coach, to name some, will do that. On the surface, it’s understandable that this jump in professionalism is considered by some to be golf’s biggest killjoy. But like life itself, players too need to evolve and adapt. While advice may require them to contain emotions on course, there are other ways to show personality and highlight character. Golf has characters today. You might even say there are more than ever. They just differ in style to the beloved heroes of yesteryear. Take Englishman Ian Poulter. He uses dress sense—or a lack of it, depending on your tastes—to express himself. Bubba Watson is outspoken, a non-conformist and unashamedly himself. And we love him. Then there’s Ben Crane who is quickly gathering a cult following for being someone who is prepared to have a laugh at himself and at the game. He is probably the best example of adapting to the times. He uses the net as his mechanism to showcase his personality. And in the end, isn’t that what ultimately attracts us, humour and humility? EMAIL YOUR THOUGHTS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org BUILDING CHARACTER Has the professionalism of golf hurt fans from seeing more characters like the late, great Seve? 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