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Hack Golf: dumbing down the game?

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
Bill Fields of Golf World wrote this week about Taylor-Made’s Hack Golf initiative designed to solicit new thoughts on how to entice more people to the game. At the PGA show Hack Golf introduced an oversized set of non-conforming clubs and a bigger ball designed for a larger hole. They believe golf is just too hard and complex and needs to be dumbed down in order to attract more participants. This disturbs me. I think dumbing down the game distorts the game itself. Yes, golf is hard. Yes, it is complex. If you want easy there’s always checkers or fishing. I don’t believe the game is keeping people away. It’s the fact that it takes time to learn and time to play and people do not have enough time anymore. Besides, where would this distorted game be played? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this.
post #2 of 109
Are these the same guys (Taylor Made) that claim (like most other manufacturers) that each new iron release adds 10 yards.... And are "the most forgiving yet"....

Surely the game can't be that hard if we can hit a PW 180 yards with a 3/4 swing that is off center!!!
(Slight hint of sarcasm)

If we were to that this initiative seriously for a moment, I wonder how they think it will attract more players to the game. People that haven't played golf generally don't realise how difficult it is, thus it's not a barrier to entry.
post #3 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulhacker View Post

Are these the same guys (Taylor Made) that claim (like most other manufacturers) that each new iron release adds 10 yards.... And are "the most forgiving yet"....

Surely the game can't be that hard if we can hit a PW 180 yards with a 3/4 swing that is off center!!!
(Slight hint of sarcasm)


If we were to that this initiative seriously for a moment, I wonder how they think it will attract more players to the game. People that haven't played golf generally don't realise how difficult it is, thus it's not a barrier to entry.

You should get 200 out of the newer, faster, hotter, longer model. 

post #4 of 109

Hey! Fishing isn't easy!

 

Checkers, yea that's pretty easy.

post #5 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog10 View Post
 

Hey! Fishing isn't easy!

 

Checkers, yea that's pretty easy.


Don't tell me that!

 

My mother used to whip my butt at checkers every single night. My dad used to let me win at different things (which I didn't know at the time) but my mom had no mercy.

 

I'm a pretty good fisherman though.

post #6 of 109
I have no issue with dumbing it down if it makes it easier for people to play, I just won't be participating in that version of the game!
post #7 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abu3baid View Post

I have no issue with dumbing it down if it makes it easier for people to play, I just won't be participating in that version of the game!


I agree. Can't see myself playing an easier version. But I must admit there was a time when I could never picture myself playing softball or flag football and I ended up playing a lot of both.

post #8 of 109

The down side to it is that a new player picks up the game under these rules and thinks that they are playing golf.  Then they join a club or serious league and have to start over again.  Or they find out that they don't like the real game and quit again, and TM has made some money by promoting a false pretense.  Every time TM makes a public policy statement any more, they lose more esteem from serious and semi-serious players.

post #9 of 109
I think almost anything that gets more people into the game is a good thing. The game is in a decline and while that can be good (less crowds, lower cost), overall it is a negative.

I also disagree that they will "start over" Rick. They won't. That's the point.
post #10 of 109
I struggle with this. I really don't like it, but if it is something that can save some courses out there...
post #11 of 109
There has been Goofy Golf for years. In my opinion, TaylorMade is shooting themselves in the foot. I personally will NEVER play their dumbed down game (I will NOT use the word golf in refering to that bastard version of the game they envision) and while I'm at it I will give up even considering equipment made by that company that is intended for use in the actual game.

Yes, perhaps golf isn't growing the way it was ten years ago when the economy was better and there was more optimism for the future, but golf will survive even if it isn't dumbed down to the level of tic tac toe.
post #12 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

I think almost anything that gets more people into the game is a good thing. The game is in a decline and while that can be good (less crowds, lower cost), overall it is a negative.

I also disagree that they will "start over" Rick. They won't. That's the point.


I agree, what some people on this thread ( and lurkers) are not getting is there has been over 5 million walk away from this game since 2008,meanwhile other sports have flourished and grown.  On Golfs age back side older players 55+ due to age & badly damaged financials and retirement have greatly impacted them, especially the middle class. More and more are dropping out or at very least playing fewer and fewer times. On the front side 18-30 years, the tiger factor never ever happened, very few schools if any teach golf in gym class- nothing sustainable has worked.  The first tee isn't working and EA sports is not compelling enough to have them try the real thing. This age group has the fewest participants EVER.

 

The middle 31-54 is also in decline, partly due to the recession but more so the game is complicated, strict rules that are misunderstood and rounds that take too long. This is usually a time where careers flourish and family's are started etc

 

I commend Mark King for taking a stand, funding hack golf and drawing attention to a real problem, that is only getting worse as time goes on. His view is to get more people on the course and interested in any golf. Once there maybe some will aspire to play the real game and rules.  I disagree with people that feel its just a way of making money. Hack golf is website for the exchange of ideas of how to promote, better and get people interested in playing & keep playing golf- from people like us. . A very high number of people that walk away for a year- are gone for good.. 

post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJim View Post

There has been Goofy Golf for years. In my opinion, TaylorMade is shooting themselves in the foot. I personally will NEVER play their dumbed down game (I will NOT use the word golf in refering to that bastard version of the game they envision) and while I'm at it I will give up even considering equipment made by that company that is intended for use in the actual game.

Yes, perhaps golf isn't growing the way it was ten years ago when the economy was better and there was more optimism for the future, but golf will survive even if it isn't dumbed down to the level of tic tac toe.


The highest level of participation of golf,was in 1998, since then there has been a steady decline and in the last 5years a steep decline.
 The so called  dumb down version is not for you at all, it's for people who don't play golf, or gave it up....its not intended to weaken the game but rather increased peoples awareness, have fun and maybe get them to play.   now do you understand it?

post #14 of 109

Well said Spitfisher.

 

This is not the first time there has been a attempt to reverse the decline. A few years ago The Masters called for ideas and then there was Golf 2.0. 

I own a 9 Hole Par 3 golf course (all about 130yds), the first thing I did when I started it up was to use oversize cups (8 inch), the golf course is low maintenance, popular with the younger demographic and I take pride that I have introduced so many non-golfers to the game. I have seen many golfers start playing at my course, learn for 12 mths, then move onto and join an 18 hole full size course.

 

Four years ago, I became part of a golf "think tank". The guys involved have varying levels of golfing skill, we've looked at the entire structure of the golf industry. Whilst we are excited to have developed a totally new concept/ product that will be coming to market in a few months, there have been some other eye opening discoveries.

 

My advice to anyone in the golf industry.......learn Mandarin!

 

If China's participation rate approached that of it's neighbours (Japan and Korea) they would have to build in excess of 50,000 golf courses (currently there are approximately 35,000 golf course in the World).

post #15 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfisher View Post
 


The highest level of participation of golf,was in 1998, since then there has been a steady decline and in the last 5years a steep decline.
 The so called  dumb down version is not for you at all, it's for people who don't play golf, or gave it up....its not intended to weaken the game but rather increased peoples awareness, have fun and maybe get them to play.   now do you understand it?

While I agree that golf needs to be looked at in terms of stopping the decline/increasing participation, creating a new game is not the answer imo. 

 

This initiative skrikes me a being akin to solving the problem of a leaking dam by deciding to start to remove water from the resevoir with a cup. 

Will it help, probably. 

Is it the real solution, no. 

Yes, it may attract new people to something that resembles golf.... but it isn't golf. 

 

There are plenty of areas where "Golf" can address the decline.... participation among younger generations, increased availability of low cost options etc. 

I would be far happier to see them address the issues that sit within the confines of the game at present rather than looking to create something different, something that isn't golf. 

 

When does golf stop becoming golf... 

post #16 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfisher View Post
 


The highest level of participation of golf,was in 1998, since then there has been a steady decline and in the last 5years a steep decline.
 The so called  dumb down version is not for you at all, it's for people who don't play golf, or gave it up....its not intended to weaken the game but rather increased peoples awareness, have fun and maybe get them to play.   now do you understand it?

 

Oh, I understand it.  I simply do not agree with the concept nor do I believe that it will be good for the game.  Only time will tell for that of course.

post #17 of 109

Not having read the article referenced in the OP,  can someone explain, is this supposed to be played in conjunction with real golf on existing courses, or does it require it's own, dedicated course?

 

With a different sized hole, it would seem to be the latter.  If that's the case, it seems like the real challenge in executing the concept will be convincing developers that the hack golf concept will make them more money than a standard golf course will.  That's gonna be an uphill battle.

post #18 of 109

Well, they could reform the game's rules to simplify them. One could have two holes on a green, identified with different colored or shaped flags - on opposite sides of the green for an 8 inch hole and regulation hole... I'd like to see more pitch and putt courses to get people interested in a quicker game. But I'd like them more picturesque. I have a 18 hole, more or less, pitch and putt not far from me -- it's always busy, but it's flat and treeless, which is probably good for its target market - fast play ... or as fast as possible.

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