by Jeff Skinner
If I am to believe what I heard on The Golf Channel last night, Monday was “an historic day in golf.” And I, being a devoted Golf Channel follower and fanatic certainly take the esteemed Rich Lerner at his word. It was an historic day in golf but not for the reason they were promoting.
The way I see it, Sergio Garcia’s win at The Wyndham Championship (which ended his four year PGA Tour drought) was the news of the day but according to the talking heads the historic news was Augusta National‘s addition of two new female members.
Augusta National’s Chairman, Billy Payne announced that they have invited Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore to join the membership of Augusta National. And that’s a wonderful thing; Augusta National could use some new blood and they should be applauded for opening their membership to women. Rice and Moore are “women of the South” and they will fit right in win the gilded aristocracy that is Augusta National but am I supposed to believe that this will somehow have an effect on the everyday game of golf?
Will females everywhere be running to the course to get in a quick eighteen? Will private clubs be deluged with hoards of women clamoring for membership? Are teenage girls going to be passing on trips to the mall and heading to the driving range instead? Not a chance.
Including women as members at Augusta National, while a noble move, will have little effect on the participation of women in the game. Maybe if Augusta National asked Kim Kardashian or Lady Gaga or Jennifer Lopez to join there would be some effect on the numbers of women wanting to give golf a try. Maybe I am being short-sighted but I don’t see this as anything more that a ceremonial act so far removed from the everyday golfer that it won’t mean a thing.
Are there teenage girls out there asking to play golf because there are women wearing green jackets? I can hear it now,” Daddy please being me to play golf so I can be like Condi.” I don’t think so. “Grow the game” is the phrase being thrown about with this announcement. You want to grow the game? Support the First Tee Program as they bring millions of kids, boys and girls, to the game. Or better yet grab your daughter and her friends and take them out to the range or the little nine hole course where everyone goes to learn the game.
We grow the game one player, one little girl or boy at a time. Put a kid on a course and let them have fun. Condi and Darla will look great in their green jackets I’m sure but it won’t put anymore girls on the course. It’s up to mom and dad to do that.