Let's face it, kids just aren't that interested in playing golf and it appears as if we will lose an entire generation of golfers. Most kids, in all probability, think that golf is a game for old men. We, as an industry, need to find ways to make golf appealing to kids. Golf organizations have been spending tens of millions of dollars a year trying to attract kids to golf but have failed. The economy and rehashing the same old ideas for growing the game of golf do not bode well for our sport. We need to find new and innovative ways to make kids want to know more about or even, dare I say, play golf.
First Tee and Tiger Woods were going to save golf, remember. And now, The PGA of America is going to save golf with Golf 2.0. I hope that we get some more software updates for Golf 2.0 before it's too late. I'm just afraid that it's going to be more of the same bureaucracy driven mediocrity that ends up making us feel like we are doing something, even if it is the same old thing. It's time to try a entirely new 21st Century approach.
Let me propose a new idea, Product Placement or Embedded Marketing to promote golf. It has worked for everything from soft drinks to automobiles and more; it can and will work for golf. Pay the network, studios, Executive Producers or whomever to place golf and golf characters into their youth oriented sitcoms and movies. Expose tens of millions of children to golf through television shows and movies that they are already watching. This way we won't need to change kids' behaviors to expose them to golf, they'll get our message in their own family rooms. And then of course since we would be buying this Product Placement, we would dictate that the golf character be one of the more popular, hip, cool, dope characters on the show. If we can create mainstream youth culture characters that are golfers, kids will begin to think of golf as part of the norm for their peer group.
There are undoubtably many ways to attract young people to the game of golf; as an industry, we need to constantly reevaluate and better our efforts. If we don't start thinking about growing the game of golf in new youth oriented ways, it won't grow and it will truly become a game for old men.