CLOSE­OUT

by now, as you know, the sur­vival of our sport de­pends en­tirely on a group of peo­ple called mil­len­ni­als. With­out their par­tic­i­pa­tion, ex­perts agree, wel­come to cro­quet. If you’re say­ing, “Why is this group so im­por­tant, and do I have to meet any?” you’ll

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - News - By Bob Car­ney

A Baby Boomer’s guide to play­ing with mil­len­nial golfers.

1

What are mil­len­ni­als, ex­actly?

The most im­por­tant group of hu­man be­ings in his­tory, age 20 to 35, and thin. They’re the new guys at your club who say the course is too short and your dress code is pre­his­toric, mean­ing pre-Win­dows 10. Ev­ery golf com­pany in America loves mil­len­ni­als, who are so to­tally high-tech they can un­der­stand most driver ads.

2

Are they pretty much all alike?

No. There are two types: En­tre­pre­neur­ial Mil­len­ni­als (EMs) are rich. They start and sell com­pa­nies like Cub Scouts sell dough­nuts. Broke Mil­len­ni­als (BMs) flock to work for them at “start-ups,” which are ba­si­cally Ju­nior Achieve­ment projects with serfs. In the time it took to read this, an EM joined your club, added an as­sess­ment and length­ened the fifth hole by 50 me­tres.

3

Why are mil­len­ni­als so im­por­tant com­pared to, say, . . . me?

Com­pa­nies want their brands to be youth­ful and vi­brant, like mil­len­ni­als. You are a Boomer – old, and old hat. If ad­ver­tis­ers were hon­est, they would tell you: “Your money’s no good, old man. Your re­place­ment has ar­rived.” From now on, your sur­vival in the world of com­merce – much less golf – de­pends on your abil­ity to re­late to the com­mon mil­len­nial.

4

How do I iden­tify one?

The mil­len­nial is typ­i­cally moody and com­mu­ni­cates in clever, ironic bursts. I had one who dis­ap­peared af­ter years in my home but left the tele­vi­sion set on its video-game func­tion. I have no idea how to get it back to Golf Chan­nel. Mil­len­ni­als start com­pa­nies like PicPKT, which tells you how many ball mark­ers you have at any time in any of your pock­ets, and which hand to use to get them. Clever. But keep an eye on the re­mote.

5

Are these fel­lows snazzy dressers?

The com­men­ta­tor who said “Rickie Fowler dresses like Neville Cham­ber­lain com­pared to most mil­len­ni­als” was only partly cor­rect. Your av­er­age mil­len­nial thinks black dress socks work nicely with flu­o­res­cent laces. He has no idea how spe­cial your Pine Val­ley logo is. So reach across the fash­ion di­vide and say, “Hi there, mil­len­nial, shall we play a few holes?” And don’t be sur­prised if he comes to the mem­ber­guest din­ner in a trim, shiny suit, prompt­ing your wife to say what a nice young man he is.

6

Any par­tic­u­lar on­course habits I should be aware of?

To mil­len­ni­als, golf is an out­door video game through which you drive an elec­tric ve­hi­cle and dur­ing which you track ev­ery nugget of in­for­ma­tion from chip-shot tra­jec­tory to penalty-drop dis­per­sion, not to men­tion score. Say good­bye to “Oh, it’s about a 7-iron.” No self-re­spect­ing mil­len­nial would ever hit a shot with­out data, prefer­ably big data. One mil­len­nial I knew called his driver Big Data. Or maybe it was Big Daddy. My hear­ing’s go­ing.

7

Is it true they play golf to mu­sic? ▶True. I was re­cently paired with some mil­len­ni­als who asked if I minded “some tunes” as we played. We were far from the club­house, no one around. I stood up and tried to make my­self ap­pear larger than I re­ally am, like you do with bears, and said, “Groovy; what­ever you dudes want.” We played for the right to con­trol the Spo­tify app (the only way we’d ever get to Van Mor­ri­son – oth­er­wise, it was Scream­ing Fe­males).

8

How’s pace of play?

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, M is for me­thod­i­cal. There’s the load­ing of the stats app, the Snapchat­ting, the Vin­ing and oc­ca­sion­ally, a golf shot. If you grew up car­ry­ing your bag, you learned how to find a golf ball. Mil­len­ni­als lack this skill, hav­ing never walked a golf course and be­ing en­tirely de­pen­dent on GPS to lo­cate any­thing. They look for balls like bugs skim­ming the sur­face of a pond. The great Mac O’Grady said he drove be­hind old peo­ple to learn pa­tience. Mac would love mil­len­ni­als.

9

What’s my ac­tion plan vis-à-vis these mil­len­ni­als?

I’ve been hard on the mil­len­nial, and you will be, too. You will find your­self want­ing to judge them and per­haps even maim a few. Re­sist. Re­mem­ber that they can fund our game. Above all, show com­pas­sion, and re­mem­ber when the fu­ture of the sport, not to men­tion the Free World, was rid­ing on your gen­er­a­tion.

the boomer

the mil­len­nial

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