'Clubs must take action soon or they'll cease to exist'

Golf News

Guest columnist Dave McCarthy focuses on how clubs, their members, manufacturers and the governing bodies should be helping golf move forward

Dave McCarthy has worked in the golf industry pretty much all his working life. Following spells at Spalding and Dunlop, he spent 23 years as the director of European operations for the shaft giant True Temper.

He represented England at boys and youth level, playing in the same team as Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler, and he has caddied four times in the Open Championship, twice with Dougie McClelland, then Howard Clark, and last year for his son Nick. His other son, Duncan, is also a pro.

You might easily argue that few people care about the game more. So this week we hand over the reins to Dave to hear his manifesto for a brighter future in the game…

As a member I am happy to pay for progression. Clubs need to take a very close look at themselves and take the necessary steps to maintain their membership whilst encouraging potential members to join with the facilities that they offer. Am I the only one who wants more from a golf club? I very much doubt it.

The course is the leading attraction. The main elements are its design, condition and how enjoyable it is. For me the practice facilities are so important, with good turf to hit from, targets at various lengths, and chipping greens with lots of options and the surface of the greens compatible with the ones on the course. Then you would want a putting green of good size with subtle slopes to enable practice from many areas.

Practice green

Clubhouses need to be more inviting. The dress code, surely in today’s society, has to change and be far more relaxed.

Members should be able to police themselves knowing what is right and wrong, if they have pride in their club, which they should, they should know what to wear and not to wear. Clubs need to encourage their members to use the facilities for meetings, drinks, snacks and fight back against the Costas, Starbucks and Neros of this world. The discretionary use of mobile phones should be allowed giving the policing, again, to the members. If common sense prevails and the phone rings members and guests should know to move to a discrete area.

How many wives of members won’t go to the club? I would guess a considerable amount so surely a relaxation of certain rules and a better environment would help address the problem.

Personally I feel if certain clubs, and I include a few high-profile ones, don’t take action soon they may not exist in years to come with tumbleweed blowing over the course that once was.

Article continues on the next page, where Dave discusses the golf ball. Is it going too far?

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