Paul Hickey: Golf today, as common as hockey and more accessible
It seems that even non-golfers are talking about “when are golf courses going to open?” dilemma.
I find it funny that friends and colleagues ask me if I am okay?
Hi. Of course I’m fine. I am Canadian. All my life I have loved a sport that you can only play half the year. You surely remember when golf in these areas started around Victoria Day and ended before Thanksgiving.
But I am admittedly tired and frustrated to hear how people, including politicians, think and talk about golf as some sort of upper-class recreational activity for a privileged small part of our society.
In the world of advertising, we would say golf has an image problem. There is a disconnect between the golf we know and love and what parts of our society think it is.
And that doesn’t strike me as one of those behavioral science issues that can be fixed by a USGA or Nike ad campaign. All of us who love the game have a role to play in calling Bull on any idea that golf is anything but a mainstream outdoor activity that can boast some of the highest participation rates of all. sports – in all parts of society.
There is no doubt that if you lived in Peterborough in the early 1900s, the members of the PGCC were made up of bankers, traders, lawyers and politicians and their families. This world is long gone.
For God’s sake, the Kawartha Golf and Country Club was created by General Electric for its largely working class employees. The employees played a big role in the construction of the course.
By the 1960s, the PGCC that I came to know and love had grown into a member of the middle class, teachers, small business owners, spouses and children. The lion’s share of golf played in this county is not even done in private or semi-private clubs.
It’s in the many well-maintained and highly regarded courtyards that are owned and operated by small businesses, many of which are family-owned and multigenerational businesses.
Interestingly, in a world where it costs thousands of dollars more for a kid to play hockey or competitive dance than spending an entire summer on a golf course, some still think golf is reserved for the privileged few.
Many adults spend more money on gym memberships than golfers spend on green fees.
The golf I fell in love with was a sport I could play with my dad, my neighbor, and all of my hockey buddies.
Honestly, I don’t know if the golf course should be open at this time. I feel like the sport has proven to be extremely safe. But maybe that’s not enough.
Maybe right now, with these aggressive new variants of COVID-19, it’s as much about one-and-one-for-all as it is about security. That we are all in the same boat and just need to limit leaving our home a little longer.
It is understandable that communities like ours would be overrun with golfers in the GTA if the courts opened. And it would be difficult to control.
It’s possible that one of the reasons we’re not playing golf right now is because the sport feels like it’s not mainstream. That there is political capital to keep all golfers at home a little longer.
It shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to realize our sport would be in better shape if it didn’t have the baggage of decades past.
It would be wise to take bigger steps to help people see what golf is really like in the 2020s.