Exposure the key
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.