Why We Love Golf
The Masters starts Thursday, and that got us thinking about how and why we love golf—and golf promotions. Let us count the ways:
Golf, at every level, has a strong relationship with charity and giving. Pros and duffers alike take time to give back not just to the game, but to society. We had a $1 million claim last month when Rickie Fowler holed out at the Els for Autism Pro-Am. We were in a good mood about it because we know the money's going to a very worthy cause.
Golf scoring is easy enough to understand for people who don't follow the sport. Oh, some of the rules are really tricky, even for the pros. But at the most basic level, hitting the ball into the hole in the fewest number of shots is pretty easy to grasp. What's more straightforward than a hole-in-one? It's easy to build contests and promotions around that.
By contrast, here's a link to Bob Newhart's classic bit where he imagines Abner Doubleday trying to describe the rather more complicated game of baseball to a game marketer who hadn't seen it played: link.
Not only is the scoring straightforward, we all play the same way. That doesn't mean that most of us are very good, but people can try for a hole-in-one whether they're age 9 or 109. You can play to beat par, or play to beat your handicap. Prizes can be offered at a tournament featuring the world's best pros, or a town's charity club championship, for many of the same accomplishments.
It's pretty cool to be involved with a ball sport that's over 600 years old. Oh, we like athletics, swimming, horse racing and combat sports too, don't worry. But the Old Course at St. Andrews was established in 1552, and golfers still enjoy the game in that very spot.
Lots of golf courses are just plain beautiful. Beautiful to play, to walk, to soak up from the gallery, or to watch on HDTV.
Golf is growing internationally. While golf was originally popular in the English-speaking world and then spread throughout the West, now places like China and Russia are getting excited about the game. This summer in Rio, golf will be back at the Olympics after 112 years away – we hope for good. Getting into the Olympics is the surest way for a sport to reach new players and fans. Expanding markets are a promoter's dream.
Finally, as one of our younger staffers points out, playing, watching, or promoting golf is a wonderful excuse to enjoy multiple ice cold refreshments. Surely he must have meant the drink popularized by the man himself, the Arnold Palmer: equal parts lemonade and iced tea. Go on, try it.