The Speed of Golf

Posted on June 23, 2017

We saw this article by the Guardian on “Sport 2.0” – the future of sport and sports broadcasting and found it pretty interesting. It discusses the new and evolving world of sport which has seen shortened versions of sports such as baseball, cricket and golf be introduced to the mix. We thought it would be interesting to put forward some of the reasons that sport is taking this turn – using golf as an example.


“Increasingly viewers want shorter, sharper, bite-sized chunks of entertainment, on mobile devices too. No wonder some of them are scrambling to revamp their product to avoid being regarded as dull and outdated. 
The landscape is changing. So what is sport doing about it?”


In this fast-paced world, people struggle to commit to giving up precious time to play a full round of golf. We surveyed regular golfers in the UK and they are telling us that it needs to be sped up somehow:

“Keith Pelley, chief executive officer of the European Tour, explains: “There are so many wonderful things about our game. But we are not in 1940 now. Every single sport is looking to adapt to a changing society. If you are not, you are going to fall behind.”

A third of these regular UK golfers believe that a lack of time available is the biggest barrier to golf – which should be a red flag considering golf participation is showing signs of slight decline in the UK (SMS INC. Golf Participation 2017). Couple this with the fact that 1 in 4 golfers think that one of the biggest threats to the game of golf is the lack of appeal to younger generations… all signs point towards an adapted and shortened format of the game; however the regular golfers are also saying:


Henni Zuel, a Sky Reporter discussing Golf Sixes: “Of course it isn’t going to replace the 18-hole game”, “But it was really noticeable that it seemed to bring in a younger audience.”

It seems that UK golfers agree with Henni, current regular golfers don’t want to see the 18 hole game replaced, but would like to see it somehow sped up. It’s really important to note though, that the shorter formats might be the key to attracting new players to the game. There are 9.3 million adults in the UK with some involvement in golf, but only 3.5 million of those are full length course users. The other 5.8 million are involved in golf through other means such as 9 hole golf, adventure golf and visiting the driving range.


So what have we learned? YES, the game needs to evolve to attract a new audience , BUT amongst the current core golfers of the UK, the majority prefer the traditional format – they just want to play it quicker.

The article from the Guardian can be found here.

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