07 August 2014

Rethinking golf as a team sport

In an effort to increase the popularity of golf among young players, the PGA is encouraging formats in which particpants compete as teams rather than as individuals.
Thus far, it seems to be working. From a small pilot program three years ago, PGA Junior League Golf this summer has attracted more than 18,000 players on 1,500 teams, according to the PGA. That's a long way from Little League baseball, which counts some two million U.S. participants aged 4 to 18, but the PGA believes Junior League Golf can reach 100,000 players in the next few years and continue to expand from there...

"Kids golf has lost ground to other sports mostly because the game hasn't yet understood how organized it needs to be," said Dan Van Horn, the founder of U.S. Kids Golf, the largest supplier of kids golf equipment. Van Horn has no direct involvement in Junior League, but likes what the PGA is doing. "Kids may love the sport, but what they've been missing is the social connection with other kids their age, the camaraderie," he said. As much of an individual game as golf is, that social aspect is the main appeal for most adults, too. 
I have to say that the most enjoyable golf I've ever played has been in team-type "scramble" or "best ball" formats, where everyone in a foursome tees off, then all four play their next shot from wherever the best ball of the first four landed.

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