By Cathy Goodfellow
The late Payne Stewart said, “But in the end it’s still a game of golf, and if at the end of the day you can’t shake hands with your opponents and still be friends, then you’ve missed the point.”
Since writing my first ever blog about what golf means to me, I have had a number of messages from people that read it. One person said, this makes me want to get out on the course with the girls; someone else said “truly captured it all” another said “how we should all understand the benefits of playing a round of golf.”
Why is it that golf courses are not full of golfers that feel this way? Is it because the cost of a round of golf continues to rise in an economic time where disposable income is sparse? Is it because it takes at least 4 ½ hours to play 18 holes? Is it because the many rules make it too complicated and intimidating?
The great organizations in our country that are the governing bodies of golf like Golf Canada, The National Golf Course Owners Association and the provincial association that I am most familiar with, the Golf Association of Ontario, have knowledgeable staff and volunteers that are passionate about doing their level best to help ensure that more and more golfers are able to experience the level of golf that fits them best. A task not for the faint heart.
We need to put our collective heads and hearts together and try to figure out how we can fill our courses. While it is important to develop young golfers to the elite level, I believe it is equally important to do everything possible to get ‘ordinary’ people enjoying the game – especially children. When I look at most golf courses, I don’t see many children and women. I believe that ‘the royal we’ need to create more fun events at our courses for this target group. It can be a win, win situation for all the stakeholders.
Don’t get me wrong, when I golf, I don’t take a score card, I do pick my ball up and put it where ever I want and I do make sure that the people I golf with are actually people that have the same philosophy about golf as I do. But I do believe it is important to have a lesson or two – from a professional golf instructor – NOT YOUR HUSBAND/PARTNER ☺ to get the basics. Children should get a few lessons from a professional, not from their parents. I had a couple of lessons along with my children. It was a blast thanks to the knowledge and understanding from the golf professional. Everyone went away happy. Because really nobody likes to never hit the ball correctly.
I have great hope that my ‘pie in the sky’ view of what I think golf is, is actually attainable in the not too distant future. There are too many great people out there who have the same passion as I do. And I would like to say, if at the end of your game you can’t hug the people that you have spent time with on the golf course, then you have missed the point!
Cathy Goodfellow has worked in the education field for 24 years. In season she has also patrolled the pro shop at the Rivendell Golf Course in Verona, Ontario for 16 years.
An advocate for the sport, she has also worked for the GAO promoting the Golf For Kids Program and delivering the good news of the benefits of the GAO programs to the Ottawa Valley.
“I am a golfer but not in the ‘Golf Channel’ kind of way. I am passionate about all that golf has to offer and on any given Friday night you will find my husband and I with our friends golfing, dining and solving the problems of the world.”
If you want to chat with her (golf is usually the topic du jour) she can often be found on Twitter @goodfellowc29