Gender Neutrality (Finally) on the rise

Last month, golfers across the country witnessed an interesting online “battle” of sorts, as Maleny Golf Club announced they were adopting gender-neutral tee blocks to help promote gender equality (see Club News, page 8). Essentially, Maleny are eliminating the “Red, White and […]

The Long and Short of technology

Advancements in technology have proven to be both a boon and burden in golf (and life). For every shiny, new gadget that aims to improve our lives, there is often a lurking obstacle or glitch hidden within. This has become no more […]

Upsetting the apple (golf) cart

Nearly ten years ago, a topic/discussion began popping up in my inbox: the practice of golf clubs either banning the use of personal golf cars/carts, or charging golfers to use their own carts on the course. You may recall these discussions in […]

When opportunity knocks

While COVID-19 has brought a lot of pain, suffering, chaos and confusion to the world, it has also (believe it or not) brought a potential shining light to the golf industry. There is a massive…and I mean MASSIVE…opportunity in golf at the […]

A Matter of Perspective

SKY-High banana-slices out of bounds…fat/chunked chip shots…fried-egg bunker lies…tee shots landing in fairway divots…slow play…lip-outs…water balls…three-putts… …I enthusiastically cherished every single one of them last month. Following three months of government-imposed “prison time” here in Victoria, I was chomping at the bit […]

Popular Golf Side Bets and Games

Wagering on the golf course is as old as the game itself, and while there’s no definitive history of when the first golfer asked his partner “So, MacDougal…you wanna make this a wee bit more…interesting?”,  stories abound of the first golfers competing […]

Cornholing, Chess Boxing and Lightsaber…ing?

For years, debate has raged whether activities like golf, bowling, horseracing and others are technically “sports”. Over the last few months, a variety of questionable “sporting” broadcasts have graced our Foxtel/Kayo screens. Are these “sports”? I’ll let you be the judge.


For seasoned golf pros and rookies alike, your tee time has finally arrived: PGA TOUR® 2K21 is available now for the PlayStation®4 system, the Xbox One family of devices, including the Xbox One X and Windows PC via Steam*, Nintendo Switch™ system** […]

It’s OK to admit you’re not OK

This is extremely difficult to say. In fact, it’s all but overwhelming, and one of the hardest admissions I’ve ever made. But it needs to be said. Over the last few months, I’ve not been “OK”. Not at all. COVID-19 has taken […]

The Man Who Gave Up Sex for Golf

A golfer is in a competitive match with a friend, who is ahead by a couple of strokes.”Boy,I’d give anything to sink this putt”, the golfer mumbles to himself. Just then, a stranger walks up beside him and whispers, “Would you be […]

Are you a TRUE golf nut?

Is golf more to you than just a “silly game with a little white ball”? Does it consume every waking hour?   Do you eat, sleep and breathe everything golf?If so, you could be a bona-fide golf nut.  Take our “highly un-scientific” quiz […]

Finding the light amidst the clouds

It’s safe to say that 2020 is proving to be one of the most difficult years in living memory. As I write this (in mid-March), Covid-19 / Coronavirus is running rampant across the planet, with people either locked-down, quarantined or brawling in […]

What a Waste (Management)

Across the globe, a lot has been written and said about the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Most notably, the discussion has centred around the topic of the Stadium Hole, which is a grandstand/corporate box that surrounds the par-3 16th hole […]

Hi, Tech!

Last month, I made the trek to Orlando, Florida, for the massive PGA Merchandise Show. Over four full days, I walked the “miles” of aisles, and sampled hundreds upon hundreds of products. One thing I noticed while touring this behemoth of a […]

The Cup Runneth (and now it’s over)

Well, another Presidents Cup has been run and won…by the Americans. (Sigh) Immediately following the event, I, like most of Australia and the non-American-viewing-public, felt more than a bit flat. Not just because the International team lost what was shaping up to […]

Thanks for asking

Many of you will recall that I wrote an article in the March issue about member/player surveys (“A Question Left Unasked”). In that column, I mentioned how surveys and feedback are the lifeblood of any business, especially those in the hospitality industry. […]

Virtually (un)certain?

DURING last month’s GMA National Conference—where general managers and industry professionals met to discuss and address the many issues affecting golf clubs—I was fortunate to chat with dozens of delegates about a variety of issues plaguing their clubs. One such issue was […]

Fixing slow play

Nearly every day, I read or hear reports concerning slow play in golf. Having played the game for nearly 50 years, I can attest that slow play is indeed one of the most frustrating parts of the game. And over those years, […]

Did you feel the (Port)Rush?

Last month’s Open Championship was an epic moment for professional golf, as we witnessed the return of Northern Ireland / Royal Portrush to the Open Rota, following a near 70-year absence. For those of you who could not watch the event (sadly, […]

Changing course at the US Open

For nearly 10 years, I’ve been writing in this very column about how golf’s governing bodies—notably the USGA and the R&A—have often struggled to keep the game of golf relevant in this modern age. Generally, my diatribes have focussed on the organisations’ […]

Golf Australia’s clubs’ subs snub

For many Australian club golfers, the months of May/June/July represent a sticky time—as we debate the pros and cons of forking over our hard-earned cash to renew our annual golf club membership. In the end—our bodies and partners willing—we generally choose, once […]

Going by the numbers

Recently, The Australian Golf Industry Council released the National Competition Rounds Report for 2018. And while there was a significant “positive spin” by the council regarding the fact that the year was consistent, with an increase of the number of rounds played, […]

A question left unasked

The other day, I was in a club’s carpark, changing my shoes and packing up the clubs after a round of golf, when I overheard a couple of players walking back to their cars, discussing what I can only assume was a […]

Time-shifting and golf

We’ve heard it over and over: “People are Time Poor.” Over the last few years, amid declining memberships and participation, the golf industry has adopted that phrase as a scapegoat of sorts; citing “Time Poverty” as one of the main reasons why […]

Vent your spleen on the distance debate

Last month, the R&A and the USGA launched a global online questionnaire and data-gathering exercise surrounding distance in golf. As part of the Distance Insights project, golf’s governing bodies have opened up the doors to the world golfing public, asking for feedback […]

Grant program to help clubs, communities

If your golf club is in need of money to help fund a “dream project” to improve the facility, boost participation and help gain (or regain) the club’s status as a community hub, then a recent announcement by Sport Australia will be […]

Golf’s woes grow

Last month, Golf Australia released the 2017 National Golf Club Participation Report, an annual publication which details membership numbers, playing trends, competition rounds and general participation.   A snapshot of the report is shown here (The full report is available on our […]

The FUNdamental issue

Last month saw the much-anticipated and highly-touted launch of Top Golf on the Gold Coast. For the uninitiated, Top Golf is like a driving range on ultra-steroids, seamlessly incorporating a high-tech element into hitting balls (automated ball tee-up, computerised scoring and games, […]

Playing the percentages

The other day, I was playing a round as a guest at a local club, where I was paired with a member of the club’s golf committee. During the round, I noticed that the course had been set up in a rather […]

Learning across the Board

Every month, I hear (or read via email) stories about a variety of governance issues at clubs. Whether it’s board dysfunction, lack of role clarity, micromanagement, lack of future planning or any number of similar issues surrounding a Board or committee, the […]

It’s time to sink or swim

Looking over some of the stories in this month’s issue, one thing has become painfully obvious: the tide has changed in golf. And the big wave is upon us. The USGA and the R&A have announced their new “modernised rules” (to help […]

Let’s hear it for the girls

Last month, Golf Australia announced that they plan to focus heavily on what many consider to be golf’s greatest imbalance – female participation.  GA’s “Vision 2025: The future of women and girls in golf” plan (see story on page 6) is aimed […]

When faster isn’t better

Anyone who has played golf with me knows that I’m a fan of playing quickly. My regular foursome, when unencumbered by slow groups ahead of us, can easily finish our round in roughly three hours and 45 minutes.  A quick round is […]

It’s time to stop the chop

Ok, folks. Enough is enough – it’s time for us all to take action. One of Australia’s most beloved and iconic golf courses, Melbourne’s Albert Park Golf Course, is facing the chop. Situated just a 5-iron away from the Melbourne CBD (if […]

The cart before the course

In February, I wrote about how golf is predominantly a game of “No”, with golfers commonly hearing phrases like “No, you can’t wear those types of socks/shoes/shorts/shirts”, “No, women (or juniors) can’t be on the course this day of the week,”, “No, you can’t check email […]

Has Australian Golf gone out of bounds?

Over the last few months, I’ve received an increasing number of emails/letters from disgruntled readers, denouncing our governing body, Golf Australia, for a variety of reasons (see this month’s Your Voice for just a sample of the many opinions I’ve received lately.) […]

Beat the pro…every week?

A few readers have alerted me to a situation that is slowly trickling through clubland. It seems that a growing number of clubs are beginning to allow professionals to play in club events like the weekly members’ competition and even Club Championships. […]

Lost in the Woods

We’ve received a few letters lately regarding the media’s poor treatment of Tiger Woods and his recent troubles (see this month’s Your Say page for a sample).  Readers may have noticed our lack of “coverage” regarding Tiger’s woes over the past few […]

State to state, a slippery slope

A few issues back, I raised some points about the Slope System and handicap indexing. To summarise, I proposed that, instead of using the current (and potentially outdated) American Slope system to determine the relative difficulty of courses here in Australia, we […]

Golf ruling was off the ‘mark’

It was simply a matter of time. For those of you scoring at home, you’ll remember that my April “Starters Box” column (written in mid-March) focussed on the Rules of Golf. In the column, I said “…It seems that every year there’s […]

Girls just want to have fun

Over many years, I have argued at length in this column that clubs, members and committees need to ‘wake up’ and take dramatic, swift action to change their mindsets from the old, traditional models into a new way of thinking. Recently, it […]

Rewriting the Rule Book

By now you will have heard that the USGA and the R&A are conducting a major revamp/simplification of the Rules of Golf (for more, see page 8). In a refreshing twist, the USGA and R&A are, amazingly, asking for feedback/suggestions from golfers […]

Hot under the collar

Last month’s column about mobile phones in the clubhouse unleashed a multitude of reader responses. Dozens of you wrote in, overwhelmingly supporting my point that electronic devices in the clubhouse were simply a sign of the times, and that clubs need to […]

No, you can’t (yes, you can!)

Recently, I was enjoying a coffee in the/bar lounge at a local club, getting ready for an afternoon meeting. The room was empty, apart from another guest who was tucked away in a corner, reading a newspaper. As I sat there quietly, […]

Seniors subdue the subsidy snafu

Most clubs across Australia will have, in one form or another, a membership category or subsidy in place to cater to Senior Members. Designed to reward long-term loyalty (and reduce the financial strain on older members), this can take the form of […]

Closing the (gender membership) gap

Last month, we received a letter which highlighted a growing concern by many golfers. The letter (Why 7 isn’t 7, Letters section) explained how a typical 7-day women’s membership, for example, doesn’t generally allow women to play golf on Wednesdays or Saturdays […]

Women and children first

“Why do members hate us juniors so much?” he asked. I was taken aback for a moment, as I pondered this rather unexpected question. It turns out that the club where he recently took up a junior membership had begun restricting the […]

The private to public conversion…is it imminent?

Over the last few months, I’ve received a heap of emails from readers regarding my columns on Club Memberships, Social Golf and the like. While the emails have been almost overwhelmingly positive (Thanks!), there have been some which have stated that articles […]

Is your club anti-social?

Over the last year or so, there have been many course closures, sales and merger announcements throughout Australia..  One by one, golf clubs and courses are breaking under enormous financial pressures and a changing mindset and lifestyle of golfers. “But surely it […]

When no news is bad news

One of the most common flaws in any business or organisation (or, according to my wife, a marriage!) is a failure to communicate. Get it right, and you’ll reap the rewards. Get it wrong, however, and you’ll be in the doghouse. History […]

When your best isn’t good enough

What is it with the media these days? Following Adam Scott’s unfortunate performance at The Open Championship, words like “Choke” and “Collapse” rushed to the fore throughout the media, with overdramatic journalists dredging up stories about Greg Norman’s 1996 Masters, or Jean […]

Getting your club ‘on board’

While revenues, membership and cost controls are all important to your club, one area that is often overlooked is the effectiveness of The Board. Boards are the sole responsibility for the viability of clubs. Plain and simple. And getting the right people […]

Knickerbockers in a knot – the attire debate

From the early days of the plus-fours and ruffled cravats, to today’s bright colours and plaid ensembles, golf and fashion have long been intertwined. That’s not to say that golf fashion has necessarily been “fashionable”. Just look at golf photos from the […]

Thinking outside the (tee) box

In February, you may recall that we suggested that there may be too many golf courses in Australia, and that the industry was ripe for consolidation. Well, last month, we learned of multiple courses across the country that are currently affected by […]

The membership model is nearly dead

It’s time for clubs to face the facts: the traditional membership model is stuck in the rough. This became blatantly apparent to me as I recently shopped around for a club to join. Having received the “OK” from my wife to spend […]

Is Scoopon Good for golf

In our many visits to golf clubs these days, there is one word that keeps popping up: Scoopon. GMs and marketing managers are all abuzz about the phenomenon, but they are equally wary about how it may affect their clubs in the […]

The Great Rake Debate

While playing in a recent golf event, I was the recipient of a rather unlucky bounce, as my perfectly-struck approach shot to the green hit a rake and deflected into a bunker (where the ball came to rest, no less, in the middle of an unraked footprint.)

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