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Golf Australia Express : May 2013
Talent is a vital ingredient on Tour, but crafting a career takes more than skill with club and ball. Anil Mane’s journey from the slums of Mumbai to the Indian Tour shows a young professional under intense pressure to succeed. [See his incredible story in the video, right] When every dollar counts, the Tour is a hard place to make a living. Tournament entry fees, caddies pay, transport and accommodation costs all combine to make the cost of clothing and equipment a quibbling matter. On top of this, golf is won with consistency, and consistency calls for a coach, possibly a sports psychologist and lots and lots of balls to hit. Mane’s experience shows that, even with the temporary relief of a sponsor, a Tour golfer’s future relies on performance. When that slips, tension leads to mistakes and gives birth to a vicious financial vortex that does not enter the mind of the cashed up professional. There is no free ticket to wealth. Elite performance is a luxury that requires time away from work, and that alone is more than most can afford. If you make it, though, like many sports golf offers a fairytale path out of poverty––besides the purse, there are endorsements and sponsors and investors. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t playing on the Tour––we actually pay for our time on the course. But you don’t have to drive a late model Merc to get a tee time. It’s true, the joining fees for private metropolitan courses are often prohibitive, and annual subs in excess of $3000 are not uncommon. At places like that, you can probably expect to see more German cars than old Holdens, but there’s a lot more to golf than the fancy clubs with ‘Royal’ in their name. According to Golf Australia’s 2012 National Golf Census, more than half of the people who were golf club members belonged to a regional club. Fees outside the city drop dramatically and people who either live out there or don’t mind a bit of a drive are enjoying great golf and they can still afford to eat for the week. Meanwhile, the same report revealed golf memberships around Australia were following a disturbing global trend as more and more players walk away from their clubs. The census points out that memberships have been falling since the turn of the century, and suggests that a paucity of time is as much to blame as anything else. Perhaps that’s because a bricks and mortar golf club doesn’t offer the value it once did to all but the dedicated player. These days, anyone can have a handicap, and there are now online clubs that organise competition days at public courses, for a fraction of cost. And that brings it all back to price. How much do you want to pay? Because golf is not like hitting the slopes. There’s no such thing as a cheap ski weekend––they are without exception the playground of the well- off and wealthy. COVER SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: This 7-minute documentary is a fascinating example of golf's ties to riches.
April 2013-The Masters
June 2013-US OPEN