Golf has long been an old-fashioned game, reflected in how golf clubs are operated, the way in which tournaments work and even the expected dress code. If you’re playing on a proper course, not a minigolf venue, then casual clothes just won’t be accepted. So, how has golf moved forward over time and is there room for more movement in the future?
One of the biggest ways in which golf has progressed is with the acceptance of sports betting. This was first seen in 2019, when gambling sponsors were allowed at PGA events. It was this acceptance that demonstrated that the greater golfing fraternity no longer believed that gambling would lead to the integrity of the sport being tarnished. This is something that has also taken place in the NFL in recent times, with a softer approach being taken to sports gambling. In response to this, there has been an influx of sports gambling sites offering support to golf events.
It’s not just in terms of sponsorship, though. The stats that are gathered on golfing events are also used by online sportsbooks in the modern world, which means that many more betting options are available to people who enjoy sports gambling. This has made sports betting a much bigger phenomenon and has helped to enhance the viewing experience for golf fans.
Of course, social media can have a negative influence on the world, with online trolling being one of the worst things that can happen to a person. However, social media in general can also have a positive impact on the world. A great example of this would be professional golfers being able to interact directly with their fans – people who would normally never have the opportunity to talk to their heroes can now do so via social media.
It means that golf has become more accessible to the public. This obviously helps it to become a much larger sport in comparison to other popular sports. While it’s unlikely that golf will ever be able to compete with the biggest sports in the world, such as soccer and the NFL, there is still room for it to grow. Social media could well provide one of the biggest routes for this to take place. By utilizing the natural room for growth that’s available, it will allow individual golfers to attract fans who are outside of the normal demographic.
Social media also allows golf tournaments to reach far more people – in terms of coverage – purely by virtue of social media accounts. This is an area that demands immediate attention, as other sports will obviously have similar ideas.
Speed of play
This is definitely an aspect where golf has difficulty competing, but cricket is a great example of a sport that succeeded in bringing a more exciting version of the game to viewers. With golf tournaments usually taking four days at a time to be completed, there’s not much of a requirement for fast-paced action to take place.
Golf competitions are still slow and laborious events. This means that if golf wants to keep up to or compete with some of the more intense sports out there, it needs to find a way to speed up the event and make it more exciting.
One idea that has been discussed is to halve the amount of time required for play. For example, instead of playing a tournament over 72 holes, play it over 36. It means that the cut-off would take place after 18 holes instead of 36. This doesn’t just speed up the process of the tournament itself but also brings in the incentive for more adventurous shots earlier on. This increases tension and makes it a more exciting event.
This topic is often met with mixed opinion. Firstly, bringing golf up to date and allowing men and women to compete against each other in tournaments might not be a sensible option – there are still the differences in physical strength that might make this a little impractical. However, there is nothing stopping golf clubs from allowing women to join.
The practice of excluding women from membership is becoming less widespread, but there are still some clubs that will not allow female members. This is definitely an outdated tradition that golf needs to change in order to catch up with modern times. Hopefully it will be relegated to the history books within the next few years and golf can become a truly inclusive game.