An open letter to President Barack Obama on what we really need to grow the game

October 9, 2014

Dear President Obama:

I'm writing this because we need to fix the game of golf, and we need your help. As an avid player, you've no doubt heard that the golf industry is going through some tough times. Golf is too expensive, people say. It's too hard. It takes too long to play.

You clearly love the game. And I believe that all of us who love golf have a responsibility to give back to the game that gives us so much. In that spirit, I've got a proposition for you, Mr. President. Golf needs a goodwill ambassador, and you're the perfect man for the job.

Why? Well, for starters, you used to think that golf wasn't cool. When you started playing, you hid your passion from us. But now you love it so much that you don't care who sees you playing. Imagine the good you could do for the sport if you were a spokesman for the game. You could tell people about the benefits of being outside, getting exercise, escaping your cell phone, spending quality time with friends, and playing a game that you never outgrow.

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You took up golf later in life, and that's a path many of us can relate to. It's no secret that your favorite sport, basketball, is a young man's game. Golf allows you to get those competitive juices flowing without worrying about blowing out a knee or getting an elbow in the face.

You've also addressed your concerns about injuries in football, especially youth football. You said that if you had a son, you would not want him to play professional football. In addition to being a great game, golf is a safe sport to steer kids toward. It encourages sportsmanship, and it helps young people develop a sense of self-esteem and integrity. You could help spread that message.

You could also help bring the game to more minorities, especially African Americans. When Tiger Woods started winning Tour events in 1996 and then won the Masters in 1997, we all thought his success would help grow the game's diversity, but we still have a long way to go. It takes more than one person to transform the sport. Help us bring the game to all Americans, Mr. President. You would send a powerful message by embracing golf the way you've embraced basketball.

Of course, golf needs more than just your words, sir. Walking the walk is much more important. Just an idea: How about an executive order giving courses a tax incentive if they host and mentor junior golfers once a week? Think of the good that could do.

Above all, the game needs you to tell the world how much you love it. Maybe you could write an open letter extolling its virtues. You have the bully pulpit for two more years. I know you have a lot on your plate, but please find just a little time to help us fix the game we love—not just for golfers today, but for both present and future golfers everywhere.


Peter Kostis