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“The pro made a comment about your socks, they don’t cover your ankle”.
Yes, I’m a bit of a slut and like to flash the ankles on the course. Yes, I’ve got ankles good enough for the cover of Men’s Health. And yes, importantly, this was an actual comment made to me recently just before I played one of the best courses in Scotland.
I spent last summer working in Florida and played some great courses out there. I wore shorts on the course every time I played and not once were my ankles even complimented never mind complained about. Whilst this was hurtful to my ego, this seemed more normal to me.
Golf in the US
Many people don’t like how golf is in the US. Don’t get me wrong, if I ever found the cretin that invented the “bababouie” shout I’d make a headcover out of his scrotum, but it’s hard to deny that it’s generally more relaxed.
I played the Winter Park Country Club, or WP9, in Orlando, FL constantly out there. It was easily the most fun course I’ve ever played. Show up, no range so straight to the tee, grab a few $3 beers and tee-off. This course was so well-designed that beginners and experts could enjoy it equally.
A well-crafted and designed nine-holer could be the key to reviving the amateur and junior game. Showing people you can play a great track and it doesn’t have to take up your whole day would definitely interest people!
Golf in Europe
People complain about your socks.
Seriously though, having spent time at courses in continental Europe and in the UK there is a difference here too. Golf in Europe can be fairly dry and boring. I met great people on courses in Luxembourg and France but the clubs lacked atmosphere.
When I watch the European Tour anywhere other than the UK and Ireland the crowd feels like they’ve been rounded up at gunpoint and told to watch. They are often tedious! Sorry, Denmark is an exception here for sure. The Made in Denmark is an incredible event!
Golf in the UK
In terms of the UK, the galleries that watch the tour are knowledgeable and fun. They have a laugh and on-course characters like Beef really help get the crowd going!
To me, and I’m unashamedly biased, the British and Irish crowds are the best of both worlds. Whilst they are a bit more reserved than their American counterparts, they are arguably more knowledgeable and they can make some real noise as and when it’s called for!
In the US, big sporting events are so well advertised that you get many non-golfers going because the PGA Tour is in town. This is great and no-doubt helps grow the game!
UK Club Golf
Here is where our great sport has a bit of an issue though and where the US wins hands-down. People are still put off by all of the rules and silly quirks that go with golf. My risqué socks are a prime example of this. This isn’t something that happens at every club, I appreciate that, but it is still annoying in 2018.
Yes, we should have standards, however, are ankles that offensive a body-part? Let’s have a think about the fights we’re picking. In the US golf has broken down its walls and been more accepting. Brands like Top Golf are showing people just how fun the sport can be and are giving non-players the first hit of one of the world’s most addictive drugs, a flushed driver.
Call to action
Let’s drive and strive to make golf cooler. If someone has a go at how you’re dressed, within reason, then ask why they are so offended. Bring your friends along for a game and show them that you don’t need to worry about these things so much.
I’ve taken people who hardly play onto the course and its fun. You see them struggle, then they hit a good shot and they light up! They’ll also see that you’re pretty handy at this immensely difficult game too so you get a wee ego boost! Let’s grow the game. In the next few weeks find a friend that is interested and take him or her to the driving range! Trust me, you will not regret it!
Please comment below and let me know how you get on!