What's on the 2012 bucket list?
The beginning of every new year brings change for us all. If the previous year was a success, it’s normal to want things to continue, if it wasn’t then you want things improve.
2012 was a difficult year for Australian golf so hope becomes the overriding emotion. Hope for more success on the international stage, hope for better coverage in the media and hope for a boost to the entire industry.
One thing would take care of all that in an instant – a Green Jacket - but we’ve been hoping for that for decades.
We’ve come so close a few times, if you go deep in your mind you can actually see Greg Norman slipping it on as the sun sets over Augusta National. Even Adam Scott and Jason Day can say they put an arm in each before Charl Schwartzel ripped it right out of their hands.
The reality is we can’t simply hope for things to improve, we need to take action and make them happen. That’s the secret to success and why winners win. It’s a formula, which has been proven for centuries.
It’s why Greg Norman carved divots out of the range at Royal Queensland as a trainee professional, to the point where the members had him banned because there was no grass left.
It’s why Adam Scott, who was already winning tournaments and making millions a year, made the conscious decision to change to ensure he became a constant contender in majors.
It’s why Karrie Webb, continues to be our dominant female player long after she achieved all those incredible results which saw her inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.
So what can Australia do to return to the all-conquering golf nation it once was and will be again? First step is to believe its possible. The next, is to change the mindset that our best days are behind us.
It’s why Geoff Ogilvy packed up his family from their beautiful home in San Diego at the tail end of last year and relocated back to Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s where he was living and playing when he had major success between 2006-2010 and why he’s given up the cushy life by the beach so he can return to winning big.
But all these examples are about elite players. What about you and me, the common golfer? What can we do to improve the state of the game in Australia? The answer is the same… take action to make it better.
I don’t have all the answers but here are some suggestions that will help…
1. Pump funds into the Australian golf industry… Buy that driver/set of clubs you’ve always wanted or get some lessons with a registered PGA Professional or better still organise a golf trip to one of our many outstanding destinations (they’re world class, trust me!)
2. Grow the game at a community level… Help your club or favourite course by staging a variety of events (golf or non-golf related, it doesn’t matter) to make it more attractive to others to join or play more often. The more, the merrier.
3. Go and watch generation next… Just because our Big 3 have been run and won it doesn’t mean the summer of golf is over. All the major Amateur events are on over the next few weeks, these are the same tournaments which Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Jake Higginbottom have won in recent years (check golfaustralia.org.au for scheduling).
The ALPG season is on through January and February and the calibre of golf is brilliant. Remember the six-way playoff Jessica Korda won to claim the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne last year? It’s the same tour which saw Yani Tseng became World No.1 and where Lydia Ko announced herself to the world before she announced herself to the world. You get to see the best of the best before the rest of the world does!
Also the 2013 PGA Tour of Australasia begins in Victoria next week with many of our aspiring stars in action, including Australian PGA champion Daniel Popovic. There’s a hundred stories just like his waiting to be told. Take it as gospel, the guys playing in these events are better than the best player at your club… with interest!
4. Embrace women and kids… If you have a controlling interest in the game in this country at either local, state or national level then do absolutely everything in your power to make the game more attractive and accessible to these two often overlooked groups. It baffles me that this is still an issue in this day and age.
Seriously, fix it!
While some might argue golf has been on the decline in Australia for the past decade, it can and certainly will flourish again. It just needs all of us to pitch in and do our little bit – for the sake of the game.
That way we don’t have to hope for anything – good things happen.
Luke Elvy hosted Ten Sport's coverage of the Australian PGA Championship coverage in December. He writes exclusively for Golf Australia. His views do not necessarily represent those of Golf Australia. Follow him on Twitter - @elvisgolf