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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

game’s challenges

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.

Adam Lawrence