We’re always interested in hearing (and reporting) any and all variations of perspective that relate to the U.S golf economy. We were recently attended 19th Hole at the 2014 World Amature Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach, SC. There were reportedly over 3400 golfers from over 30 countries participating in this years tournament. In an interview on TGD Radio between host, Jeff Gilder and Bob Seganti, PGA Director of Golf for True and Caledonia golf courses, Seganti made the statement that he felt the problems associated with the U.S. golf economy have been over-hyped. True Blue and Caledonia are 2 of the areas finest golf courses located on the south end of the Grand Strand. Admittedly, with so much negative news, we felt this is the kind of information that needs to be heard.
We’ve all heard the three most popular excuses related to a slower than preferred golf economy: it’s too expensive; it takes too long to play; and it’s too hard. Seganti took specific aim on the “it’s too expensive” excuse, pointing out there is great value in round of golf. Golfers can find rates as low at $20 at various times throughout the year in Myrtle Beach. Obviously playing a premium course at the peek of season will cost considerably more, but Seganti’s point is well taken.
We asked Seganti if he felt the newly proposed “relaxed rules” being touted by the Golf Channel would help ease the “it’s too hard” and “it takes too long” excuses. Seganti was not so ready to write new rules, stating most golfers already play by somewhat relaxed rules. He said he would rather see the emphasis placed on creating shorter course options for beginners and busy families. Courses that have implemented shorter round options ( 3, 5, 7, 9 holes) have had success, but many established courses do not have layouts conducive to the kind of rerouting required to accommodate the concept. We’re 100% in agreement this concept looks promising. Unlike Mr. Seganti, we also like the relaxed rules concept. Yes, many golfers do already play relaxed rules, but if courses adopted changes to address certain round-killers like re-teeing OB shots and double bogey max scoring, pace of play would certainly pick up.
It’s a pretty good bet that Seganti’s comments might be challenged by a few, but we got (and appreciate) the point and the direction of his intent. There’s no argument (Seganti agrees) that courses in many areas are indeed struggling. The negative energy wasted over-hyping and lamenting the woes would certainly be better spent looking for more creative and innovative solutions. It is a great time to look for new ways to tackle old problems.