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But what exactly is a modern golfer? It’s certainly not a term restricted to the younger generation taking up our sport. Nor is it players hanging on to their self-proclaimed golden days (which were arguably stifling for women). Elitist (see expensive) club memberships certainly still have their place and it’s fair to say newcomers to golf are generally mindful of being respectful of traditional ways.
Society is fast moving – fact. Perhaps this propels modern golfers to approach the game in new ways? Let’s face it, prioritizing a Saturday or Sunday to sneak in 18 is quite the luxury unless you’re a retiree or kid free. Working time constraints mean you may not make an afternoon mid-week round but can swing by (pun intended) a night driving range and/or an indoor golf centre 24-7.
And, what about loyalty? New age golfers are proving keener to adventure afar for a game and not just play their local course again and again. Why? Are they bored? Is it a case of fairway monotony? I’m not sure but I’d hazard a guess that it’s more because they have a hungry taste for, not only the game but also the lifestyle that goes with it.
The modern golfer sees our sport with fresh eyes, often plays with top-of-the-line equipment, and embraces new fashions (cue the amount of emerging golf apparel brands on the rise). On another note, the modern golfer (I’m generalising) is ok playing a game with either sex, as in playing with women doesn’t make you a feminist it just means you don’t care. That taboo is well and truly dead in a contemporary golf mindset.
Some players are simply across sports in general and now that golf appears to be more accessible to women, that’s getting thrown into their weekly workout mix. And why shouldn’t golf be included in a newfound fitness streak? In saying that walking the fairways is going to be more beneficial than jumping in a buggy.
After dark might be the only time you can find to play after a busy day. Enter the lady who loves to visit a well-lit driving range after sunset. Which is a great way to improve your driving skills, gain distance off the tee, and let off some steam. Perhaps the nocturnal golfer gal is more likely to converge in a fun golf zone - enter Top Golf, Holey Moley, and Shanx type venues.
Golf is a great way to make new friends and for many modern players is the social aspect of the game that draws them in. Although not a new phenomenon (dedicated women’s golf events have been around for decades), in this day and age an epidemic of loneliness and semi-isolation (since we’re conducting so much of our lives online) seems to be creeping into the fabric of society. Getting to golf, in this case, makes sense. You know, reach out, and belong to something bigger, a community even.
The same goes for today’s women who are more likely to book a guided golf travel tour package – here they have an opportunity to keep healthy playing sport in the great outdoors, explore regions they’ve never been to before and again, make new friends. For some, it’s the latter idea of a traveling golf group that draws them in more than the desire to improve their technical ability. Fun indeed!
It’s not just weather conditions (though on the east coast it has been lately) that lure players to indoor golf centres. And it seems many modern golfers don’t appear to disparage the real thing it’s quite the contrary given the number of indoor golf venues popping up in both cities and rural towns. Accessibility is a key drawcard here, along with the rise of top-of-the-range golf simulators available to the average Joe and the knowledgeable staff ready to help.
Virtual Golf and digital golf apps are gaining popularity too. The Golf Challenge App is a free and easy-to-use scoring app to help golfers play the Golf Challenge either at their local practice facility or on course at their golf club. The app keeps track of their score and gives them access to their performance data to help them improve their game of golf. It consists of different skill challenges; each challenge uses the player’s handicap to set the level of golf skill required. For example, a 10 handicapper is required to hit their NTP shots within 5%, a scratch golfer 1%.
Have you noticed more couples playing golf together? We sure have, and broadly speaking the modern man has little to no issue in playing golf with his lady friend, which in turn, you guessed it, encourages more women to get involved in the game. Again, this is not a new concept, but it is gaining popularity in a time-poor society. Oh, and drop any thoughts of letting him or her win to pan to the other’s ego. It might just be a game with your lover but it's still a competition!
Networking on the golf course is a terrific opportunity to float business proposals and mingle with corporate colleagues in a unique
setting. Men have been doing this for years and women have finally cottoned on to the benefits too. Sure, a modern golfing woman enjoys
playing the game but if she can sign off on a lucrative deal and score a few birdies in the process, well that’s what you call a great day
on the green.
In summary, there are many ways to identify the modern golfer. After all, the above observations are just a snapshot of what is an evolving sport. There’s no point in taking sides with a traditional versus modern golf mindset.
Some golfers dedicate the bulk of their time to long driving. Does that mean they aren’t a true golfer? That would be like saying that riding a malibu board isn’t true surfing. Food for thought. Speaking of food, modern golfers appreciate modern food and of course a classic counter lunch too. Are these newbies inadvertently influencing the menu at your local? What about tunes? Nowadays it’s not unusual for golf clubs to host Sunday afternoon sessions with DJs or live music. Or, maybe that’s more the coastal clubs. Let me do some research on modern golf clubs next and I’ll report back to you.