For a considerable amount of time now there has been a constant, ongoing, mind-numbing discussion on how to grow the game. And oh, did you hear about the LIV Tour?
So I decided to sit down and throw out my five radical, maybe insane but could-work ideas to grow the game, from a guy that loves to play, talk, and watch golf.
1. Show more golf!
The GOLF Channel should cover every shot of every round of every GOLF tournament (that’s not nationally televised)
This seems like the easiest, oh my goodness why isn’t it this way, fix of all time.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember a single time I’ve watched anything on the GOLF channel other than a GOLF tournament. I couldn’t tell you what’s on it. Instead of making people pay for ESPN+ or PGA Tour Live or whatever it’s called, play GOLF on the GOLF CHANNEL.
I’m tired of flipping from ESPN+; to the USA Network; then Paramount +; and then even Disney Channel some of the time before realizing it’s not even being covered!
2. Mic Up Every Single Player and Caddy
The PGA Tour could quite literally be one of the world’s greatest reality shows. Sure, there are some bummers and low-profile guys on tour, but there is NOTHING cooler than listening to a player/caddy conversation on the back nine on Sunday:
“Oh yeah, we’re going to go 12 yards left of the pin, fade it back in and catch the slope. Miss is short left.”
“Perfect, I’ll choke down an inch on my 9 iron, should take about 5 degrees off the flight and make it through this northwest wind.”
And then they do exactly that. It’s incredible and it’s almost impossible to fathom for most people, which makes it absolutely awesome.
And on top of that, there are actually some guys that are pretty funny, cool, and competitive.
3. Let anyone play the course for free the week after the event
Okay, I admit, this is a bit out there, but bear with me.
What’s better than playing the best courses in the world? Not much really. I’d sure take Pinehurst No. 2 over Johnville’s Backyard Dogtrack Links.
Make a lottery, let anybody who wants to enter it. Pick a certain amount of people per week and those people get to play the course for free on a certain week during the year.
Or even better, pick a charity or organization and the underrepresented golfers that they support, and let them play the course. Let kids that would never have the opportunity to play a PGA-caliber course have their dreams come true.
You can’t tell me the Tour doesn’t have the money for it. It brings this very expensive game into households that wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise.
4. Make the Tour Championship match play
The Tour Championship stinks, plain and simple.
It’s one of the least dramatic championships in all of sports. If you can think of one that is worse, let me know.
Take it away and give me the top 8 golfers after the BMW Championship, throw them on East Lake, mic them and their caddies up, and play matches Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Put your best golfers in the spotlight, let fans get engrossed in the matches, and watch ratings boom. Call it the PGA World Series!
Imagine how many more events the big stars would play in if they had to be top 8 at the end of the year to win an absolutely insane amount of money, or maybe even a no-name goes on a tear and wins it?! That’s what fans want to see.
5. Create gym-style memberships to golf courses
Okay, I’m not going to take credit for this one, but when I read it I thought it was brilliant.
Get a bunch of courses together and create a membership that anyone can sign up for. Put the courses into categories (ie, laid back, ultra-competitive, pristine, bare minimum) and give access to a bunch of courses. Maybe separate it by region or offer larger, whole-country packages.
Think about how much easier it would be to book tee times if you could have every course in your membership level right on an app. No more rate hunting, 6:00 am wake-ups, and playing the last hole in the pitch black.
Memberships would get a preferred set of times, almost like being a part of a country club!
So there it is. My five radical, DEFINITELY insane ways to grow the game of golf in 2023, both on and off the Tour.