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Golf Australia Express : Issue 22
By Sam Gole VIEW THE GOLF NEEDS more people playing it. Simple as that. Yet history has shown it’s a super-tough challenge. For too long this sport has received a bum wrap from the unconverted. And that negativity has stunted the game’s growth. Surely you’ve had a friend or family member stick it to you for playing golf. I know I have. “Golf’s boring,” they say. “Only dorks with poor dress sense play it”. Or what about this one: “Golf’s snobby and elitist.” These complex half- truths do not define golf. We need to dispel the myths about golf and market it in a way that not only appeals to masses but also uses a vehicle to truly reach that group. And I don’t mean using our game’s best players. Stars like Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Ryo Ishikawa, Rickie Fowler, Yani Tseng and Lexi Thompson will continue to thrill us for some time. But we’re already converts. The biggest names in the game can attract new blood, but without support from mainstream media, little of what they achieve is noticed outside the industry itself. Any gain is rarely more than a trickle. In reality, we should be using star power to grow the game. By turning to other sports and the arts, we’ll find an array of popular idols who are passionate golfers, too. The game can leverage the mass audiences these celebrities appeal to. Using edgy mass-media campaigns— billboards, press ads, TV and radio commercials. By using the stars who love this game to promote it, golf’s image will quickly move on to a far cooler place. Show Ricky Ponting smoking a drive off the tee, Warney spinning his approach to the green, Kelly Slater riding home a curling putt, Justin Timberlake blasting to listeners from the sand, or Jessica Alba strutting her stuff on the fairway. Apparently golfers aren’t cool. Next time you hear that old chestnut from a poor naïve soul, just point them towards the array of celebs they idolise who disagree. Hey, who wants to be left out of the group, right? OTG TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS: email@example.com LOOK TO THE STARS One way to grow numbers playing the game is by leveraging its celebrity, writes Sam Gole.