Golf’s leaders have been tasked with making the game more appealing to the masses. One of the most widely supported strategies involves making an impact on a younger demographic. But not all of golf’s leading bodies, let alone large figures in the game, can agree on just how to accomplish that.
Greg Norman, speaking to The News-Press in Southwest Florida, where he’s hosting this week’s Franklin Templeton Shootout, made it clear that he is all for radical change and that he’s willing to help lead the way.
“I’m trying to unlock the code,” Norman said. “When you take pockets of a lot of golf courses, they’re asset rich and cash poor. Financially, many are in a desperate state. They want to know how they can get people back in the game.
“You can reduce time. You can play six holes in an hour-and-a-half, 12 holes in three hours.”
While Norman’s suggestions are not revolutionary, it’s notable for a figure of his stature — a two-time major champion with dozens of wins worldwide — to express a willingness to support change. Now an integral part of Fox’s golf broadcasting team, alongside Joe Buck, Norman is also becoming a prominent voice in the game.
“If they want to play in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt at a public facility, let them go,” Norman continued. “If they want to go on the course with a skateboard, let them go. If they want to put an iPod in their ears or play music, let them go.
“Why not take a look at it? That’s all I ask.”
Skateboards on the golf course? Music blaring from the fairway? These are ideas that would never have surfaced only a few years ago, but that are now being widely explored. It’s this kind of forward thinking, led by respected people in the game, that could lead to change.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is also onboard with progressive change, bluntly and succinctly describing the first step to The News-Press:
“We need to get over what golf is and was.”