Happenings in the play for pay ranks dominate the headlines week to week and fill so many hours of pay TV air-time we sometimes forget it is just one part of the game.
But the truth is – despite what some in professional golf may think – it’s not even the most important part.
For all the column inches and Twitter spats devoted to dissecting the upcoming Saudi Golf league and who will play and what it will mean, there is no discernible immediate impact at grassroots level.
And nor should there be.
I had a lengthy discussion with a long-time golf friend at the weekend and not once did the subject of professional golf come up.
“As much as I am fascinated to see what will unfold as Greg Norman and his LIV Golf Investments experiment moves forward, I remind myself not to lose sight of the fact it is of little consequence to golf’s most important constituency: grassroots golfers.” – Rod Morri.
My mate lives on the south coast and is not uninterested in tournament golf, devoting a couple of hours each week to watching the various feeds from around the world.
But his course has been effectively closed for the best part of three months because of the wet weather and his chance to go out for 15-holes on Sunday (three holes remain closed because of water damage) was the only thing he was interested in.
I’m sure the same story could be replicated across most members at most golf clubs right across the globe.
For the most part, the people who make up the game are more interested in their tee time than the Tours.
It is a stark reminder that golf’s relationship with the professional game is one few other sports share and those running Tour golf would do well to remember that.
While the majority of football fans don’t play AFL or rugby league, those watching golf on any sort of regular basis will almost inevitably be frequent participants.
None of which is to suggest professional golf is not important, but more to recognise its place in the game, particularly in the current climate.
There are seismic shifts occurring in the professional golf landscape, a landscape that has been almost undisturbed for multiple generations.
Those movements will have implications for the future of the game in many ways but in terms of the way most golfers interact with golf? Almost nil. Not straight away, anyway.
So as much as I am fascinated to see what will unfold as Greg Norman and his LIV Golf Investments experiment moves forward, I remind myself not to lose sight of the fact it is of little consequence to golf’s most important constituency: grassroots golfers.
The Wednesday comp at my old home club of Mangrove Mountain will go ahead next week no matter whether Martin Kaymer does or doesn’t tee up at the London event in June (it’s rumoured he will).
The point of all this is simply to note that for all I’ve read, heard and seen from all sides in recent months, there’s been precious little mention of the fans.
And that’s a dangerous way for any business to treat its customers.
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