The cover of this issue features the short second
hole of the new El Cardonal course at the Diamante
resort near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, photographed
by Brian Morgan. For more on the debut design by
Tiger Woods’ firm, turn to page 15.
Responding to the
As I’ve said in this column before, I don’t buy into the idea that golf is in terminal
decline. I believe the game’s inherent strengths – that it can be played lifelong, its
unique combination of challenge and companionability – will ensure golf survives
and prospers long after those who are predicting its demise are gone.
But there is no doubt that golf
as a business
faces challenges. We all know what they
are: time, cost, difficulty, appealing to the new generation. What’s pleasing, though, as
I hope this issue of
shows, is the number of different ways in which the industry
is reacting to those challenges. As our major feature discusses, all over the world
are clubs who have realised that their courses represent a huge asset that, carefully
replanned, can replace capital to either fund improvements or transform balance
sheets. This kind of reinvention isn’t for everyone, but where it works, it works great.
There are plenty of other initiatives. The stunning success of FootGolf is another
great example: an entirely new activity that takes place on golf courses, makes money
for them and – most crucially of all – appeals to an entirely different demographic
and in no way cannibalises existing revenue. Any commercial golf course that isn’t
thinking about a FootGolf offering is making a big mistake. And I’d hope that a
bunch of golf architects have already started pondering about what would make
FootGolf courses more interesting.
And there will be other ideas. Some will succeed wildly, others will flop, still more will
do OK. But, as an industry, so long as we remain open to innovative solutions that
don’t destroy our raison d’etre, we’ll have a bright future.