Amateurs must be king to keep game growing
Gary Player/Twitter photo
When Gary Player speaks, golfers listen. Player made headlines last week as he turned 83 (even though the nine-time major winner could pass for a much, much younger man), but it was an exclusive – and extensive – interview he gave Reuters
that got our attention. In the interview, Player highlighted the role of the amateur in the future of golf.
Player praised the “shot in the arm” that Tiger Woods’ return has given the game, also commenting on increased prize money, crowd size and sponsorship interest. But he also argued for improvements to the game that would serve amateur golfers, who make up the core of golf.
“The pro is not that important. It’s the average person who comes to the course, to enjoy the game and have fun. That is key,” Player told Reuters
“Golf courses need flatter greens, wider fairways and not so many bunkers to make them (amateurs) enjoy the game. Amateur rounds are down because they are too expensive and too slow.
“There must be no restrictions on the weekend golfer. Let them enjoy the round. There used to be the long putter, that was then banned. To hang with that, let them use it.”
The long putter wasn’t the only equipment Player took issue with. He has long been on the record with worries about the effect technology will have on the game. Most notably, Player sees drawbacks in lengthening courses and adding hazards.
“We want them (amateurs) to come out and enjoy themselves. We’ve done too many things to chase them away from the game instead of getting them into the game.”