By Flint Wheeler
Congratulations to Henrik Stensen. Winner of this years Fed Ex Cup and the Tour Championship event. A quick bias explanation, I loathe the Fed Ex and all it stands for. I mean really? $10 million to the Fed Ex Cup Winner? What? $5 Million wasn’t enough? I tweeted earlier in the week how I was on pins and needles in anticipation of this year’s already millionaire golfer winning $10 million more. I’ll get right on that PGA bandwagon as soon as I help my friend find a job that pays more the $9 bucks an hour.
I’ll tune into CBS right after I help feed our in need veterans down at the local shelter. My “need” to watch the rich get richer is about as important to me as learning how to make a really cool paper airplane. It’s simply not a priority of mine and tells me about how far the PGA must go to be relevant with regular America.
Last time I checked, rounds played were down, the private club industry was starving and the high cost and time it took to simply play the game should send a loud and clear message that,’ hey Golf world, you’re missing out on marketing to the majority of the rest of us’.
Make no mistake, I love the game, I’m just tired of the fancy smansey image golf keeps trying to sell in a world of people who would probably love the game, however may fear if they will even “fit” in or maybe even be a little intimidated. I hate that when I bring a buddy out who’s new to the game, he gets bombarded with all the things he’s not supposed to do. He’s got to sand and seed everything, don’t walk talk, chew gum, make eye contact or even blink when someone is about to hit a sure fired slice into someone’s backyard pool as they cruise to shooting a smooth 100.
After working a hard week listening to however many boss’s he has. Now, to relax, he’s going to take up golf. But first we need you to; tuck in your shirt, wear a collar, don’t hold anyone up, don’t walk on anyone’s lines, rake the traps, don’t fish for balls, watch where your shadows go, don’t drive the cart to close to the green, (inhale), no mulligans, and whatever you do don’t cheat on your scorecard! It’s 2013 for god’s sake, can’t we just collectively exhale. My point is, needless to say, if it wasn’t for beer, he’d never be back. Remember starting football? We just threw a ball around, basketball, throw it at the round thing, don’t even get me started on how easy soccer is to pick up, just kick it! Sensing a disconnect here?
Hold on, maybe it’s time for me to exhale. It’s not Henrik’s fault for winning. It’s not the PGA’s fault that Fed Ex, a monster company, struck a deal to over pay for the point’s leader at the end of PGA Tour season. However, as a PGA Professional, much like a good friend should, I feel it’s my duty to say how far off the PGA of America is from “getting it”. It’s time to step back and revaluate who you’ve become, who you want to be and if you’re on the right track to get there. PGA, you’ve grown through the Tiger years. We learned from the boom of the roaring 20’s, tech boom in the 90’s then this latest debacle in 2008, be careful of the steep fall if you lose sight of the big picture.
In the boom times companies forget what got them there, the customer. The PGA should have no better goal then growing the game. Losing track of the highest priority of attracting new golfers is getting lost somewhere between the headlines of “Is Tiger going to win another major” and “Buy company xyz’s new $500 driver”.
In closing, PGA, please start relating to the rest of us. Get less expensive, easier to understand, friendly and don’t advertise so much how much money everybody wins! That’s not relatable. Worse yet, it’s a turn off for potential future golfers your starving industry would love to have on their course. If your product were enjoyable, relatable, AFFORDABLE and fun, you would have no problem in your effort of “Growing The Game”.