It’s no secret that golf is in some real trouble.
According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golfers in the United States has decreased by 4 million in the last 5 years and the percentage of the population that plays golf is down to 9.6%, which is a 25 year low. To make matters worse, the future for the game in America looks downright scary. The median age of the US golfer has climbed to 46 years old and a shockingly low 5% of golfers are under the age of 30.
Armed with these figures, TaylorMade and the PGA of America decided to do something about it and started the “Hack Golf” initiative. Beyond being a clever double entendre, Hack Golf aims to “re-invigorate the golf experience to ensure the game continues to thrive in the 21st century”. With input from the golf industry and everyday players alike, the end goal is to implement a series of changes that minimize frustration and make the game more fun for the every man. This is all well and good of course, but what’s the steak behind this sizzle? What great gifts has this Hack Golf bestowed upon us? What else, but some big ass golf holes!
Wait, that’s it?
The brightest of engineering minds and the brain trust of professional golf in America got together to figure out how to save the game, and this, is what they came up with; a golf hole the size of a large pizza? Those people – who have for decades made the game easier by bringing terms like MOI, COR and core construction into the golf lexicon – spit out this vapid, cringe worthy idea? Yes, they did; and as I see it, there is one giant, 15 inch golf hole sized problem with this idea. It just doesn’t make golf more approachable.
This makes putting easier, and that’s great, I guess. But as anybody who has ever played a round of golf can attest, putting is already the easy part. The gap between the putting skill of a Tour player and that of a first timer pales in comparison to the difference in swing mechanics and ball striking ability. I’ve witnessed grown men quit the game in the middle of a round, not because they couldn’t overcome the yips, but because they got tired of topping tee shots or shanking an approach into the woods.
TaylorMade, bless their hearts, have gone all in on this, and Hack Golf the idea is an awesome concept with the best of intentions. But Hack Golf the product misses the mark. Some people might bite because the talking points they’ve cooked up, or read some of the clippings of the press blitz they’ve launched. Heck, some might even be swayed by the press event where two of their professional staffers (and a handful of cameras) put it to the test. They want you to think that if it’s good enough Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, then it’s got to be good enough for you too.
Buried in that logic, you’ll find the fatal flaw of the larger golf hole; the reality that we just aren’t good enough for this to be good enough.
Cover Photo via HackGolf.org Press
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