Can British golf repair its damaged reputation and learn from Tiger Woods' revival?
Golf has something of a long-standing image problem in Britain.
Women are still banned from joining some private clubs, young people now prefer to take up cycling rather pick up a set of golf clubs and it has found it hard to shake off its reputation as the sport of snobs.
That could be about to change. Some say if it doesn’t the industry is doomed.
This week’s monumental comeback by Tiger Woods might be the catalyst this ailing pastime needs.
After 11 years out of the golfing – at least – spotlight, the US star has lifted the 83rd Masters trophy.
In the latest This is MoneyBall, the podcast that looks behind the action and into the business and the books, Georgie Frost is joined by Alistair Dunsmuir, editor of The Golf Business, for a chat about where golf goes next.
Do incredible wins such as this really filter down to the grass roots? Possibly not but the sport is trying to evolve.
The big opportunity is women – only 13% of UK golfers are women. ‘If you’re struggling financially, the obvious thing to do is to present yourself as a female friendly club’, says Alistair.
It turns out people no longer like playing 18 holes and there are plans already being tried out for ‘Golf Sixes’, with music, fireworks and half a dozen holes.
There are 200 clubs around the country that now offer footgolf – a new hybrid sport in which players kick a football around the course into giant holes.
And big money is moving in, with six clubs being bought by six big entertainment companies in the last six months compared with one sale every year or two in the past.
Something’s happening in golf. Watch this space – or hole – as one in the business might say.
Let’s hope it’s not a black one.
Lee Boyce is away.