Ex­po­sure the key

Golf Monthly - - Your View -

As a mem­ber of my golf club’s man­age­ment com­mit­tee for the last ten years, I’ve seen a pro­gres­sive fall in mem­ber­ship. This has been down to many things, in­clud­ing aus­ter­ity and young­sters not play­ing sport gen­er­ally.

How­ever, the boom time in golf was when Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woos­nam were win­ning Ma­jors, all of which were shown on ter­res­trial tele­vi­sion. Many peo­ple of all ages sat down on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Satur­day and Sun­day to watch the fi­nal rounds. For many, this was the mo­ti­va­tion to start play­ing golf, whether at the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal or join­ing a club.

Golf sell­ing out to satel­lite TV may well have been a good deal for the elite or­gan­i­sa­tions, but for clubs it has not brought any bonuses what­so­ever.

What I would like to see is a free chan­nel so that all can watch golf and be in­spired to play. I’m not naive enough to think this is the only rea­son for de­mand drop­ping, but it is hav­ing an ef­fect. The num­ber of young­sters play­ing is fall­ing, even when my club is of­fer­ing golf for ju­niors and new golfers at give-away prices.

Golf needs more ex­po­sure so it can be kept alive. Af­ter all, the peo­ple who play golf are, in the main, the peo­ple who buy satel­lite TV to watch golf. Peter Bur­dess, via email

Ed­i­tor’s re­ply: Peter, I’m afraid I don’t agree. It’s un­for­tu­nate, of course, but the BBC has shown no com­mit­ment to the sport in re­cent times – a clear con­trast to Sky’s pri­ori­ti­sa­tion and in­no­va­tion. I also be­lieve look­ing at tele­vi­sion view­er­ship fig­ures is an an­ti­quated met­ric when it comes to mea­sur­ing en­gage­ment with an event, as so many peo­ple in­ter­act with The Open, for ex­am­ple, via the open.com, Face­book, high­lights on the BBC’s web­site and video on skys­ports.com. I’m also yet to see a com­pelling ar­gu­ment link­ing fall­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion with ex­po­sure on ter­res­trial TV.

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