by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Golf Australia Express : Issue 38
GOLF’S BRAND IS A TRICKY BEAST. With so many stakeholders determining how our game is viewed, played and marketed, it's easy to get confused in all the guff as to where golf actually sits in the scheme of sports brands. That said, it's certainly hard to argue that conservatism hasn't ruled the game for much of, if not all, its existence. For a very long time golf’s brand—to those on the outside looking in—was probably not a pretty one. Marketing execs the world over must have been shaking their heads in frustration watching such a marketable giant fast asleep while other sports capitalised on their players’ sex appeal, personalities and marketability. Golf did not. But unlike a lifelong heathen, a brand can be saved. It can be reinvented. It can become a somebody. In the past few years—thanks to a small group of individuals infiltrating the PGA Tour—the giant has awoken from its slumber, and golf is now a somebody. Old man, boring, conservative, beige golf is officially dead. OK, not quite corpse-like but certainly seriously maimed. And for those of us who've been crying out for this change, we've got a new breed of golfer to thank. In many ways the New Breed has reinvented the game. They've brought colour, excitement, personality and—God forbid—humour to a game that has been void of life for far too long. Think players like Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan—these guys have brought cool back to golf. How have they done it? Through self-deprecation, through flashy gameplay and through unashamedly displaying their true selves. They’ve proven that personality is not only marketable, but also desirable. Of course, these guys alone are not the trailblazers for breaking golf’s mouldy mould. It’s been a long process. Jesper Parnevik did his best to take on golf purists through fashion in the 1990s; Lee Trevino used humour for decades prior. But despite what some might think, individuals alone cannot alter a system—at least not in any groundbreaking way. Yet collectively, these unique individuals have been able to reach audiences away from golf and drag them in. Just think how many non- golfers are included in the five million YouTube hits for Golf Boys’ Oh, Oh, Oh single. It remains a mystery why administrators of the game have fought this wave of change for so long. Tradition is a line often thrown about, but if that was a real reason metal woods would never have been allowed, we'd all still be playing with gutties and plus fours would still be the order of the day. Is it simply a case of being afraid of change? Who knows how these people think. Like it or not the game has evolved, and one can only feel it is a matter of time until those governing the game will succumb to the pressure of change. Of course, the irony in this reluctance is that the game itself has always been evolving. BUT BEFORE WE GET too cockahoot about golf's brand revolution, it’s important to acknowledge these players are just one part of the overhaul. Golf’s brand is at a crossroad between the old way and the new. So says Callaway Golf’s managing “ The USGA are holding onto a traditional view. That's going to be a total war as I see it.”