HBO Real Sports: The Future of Golf

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Host Bryant Gumbel speaks with industry leaders, including Jack Nicklaus, the most accomplished golfer of all time, and executive Mark King about the state of the sport and what innovations should be embraced.

Comments

3rdgroove says:

Learning to play the piano is too hard. In this instant gratification
society nobody wants to learn this anymore. So let’s make it easier and
more fun. Let’s have an e-piano. It plays the tunes on its own. And of
course we suggest you buy a new one every year.

Rory W says:

maybe if the Courses would quit gouging people on their prices to play,
and renting their cheesy carts, which they seem to always have an excuse
why you can’t drive it all over on the course, it might help. Ever go into
a pro shop on a Golf Course? Always a tight-assed, uppity, kinda arrogant
attitude, like they’re doin you a favor by allowing you in there. Then
there are the dork-Course Rangers, who always will nitpick and pester you
about trivial B.S; but when some idiots are hitting down on you coming
close to beaning you with a golf ball, because they can’t exercise due
caution and patience, they are never anywhere to be found, and do nothing
anyway. Then there are the Women’s Golf leagues, who take 4 hours to play
9 holes, eeeeeeh. 

Rob Bernard says:

I AGREE…Fun, creative, consistent, and easy education, along with some
innovative,(non-invasive) changes. The large holes are a brilliant idea for
corporate events and some league play, it’s a no brainer idea. The purists
can still play the regulation hole…two cups per green is not a bizarre
concept. I say we do it now… 

Heather Duchman says:

I believe golf to be the best game ever invented . The game requires
focus, determination and commitment. So much fun playing match, play, club
events such as the Ryder cup, team Scramble, etc. After a enjoyable walk
in the park playing golf with friends you get to sit, have a bite to eat
and socialize. All this negativity going on doesn’t help the sport.start
sending a more positive message out to encourage people to play. Just my
thoughts..

Ricky Potts says:

*HBO Real Sports: The Future of Golf*: This is an +HBO special featuring
Bryant Gumbel. He talks about golf courses closing, Tiger’s impact on the
game, FootGolf, Topgolf… The list goes on. He even sits down for a candid
interview with +Jack Nicklaus. The video is 15 minutes long, but please
watch it and leave your questions/comments below. Let’s start a
conversation on growing the game of golf. #discuss #GolfIsFun #GrowTheGame


Julia Shearer says:

Golf isn’t for everybody. If it takes too much time away from family, then
you should look for something else. If it costs too much, do something
else. But don’t expect the national golf standards to change because of
your life circumstances. Where is the internal challenge to strive for
competition within yourself? Golf is an individual game, unless you choose
to play team tournaments. So why not challenge yourself? Too many people
want success as a life entitlement, with little failure or hardship. This
speaks volumes about the mentality of many in this country today. Life
isn’t always about having success the easy way. Doing well at something
because you worked for it is a well deserved ‘high’. Changing the playing
field may be helpful to bring young players into the sport, but should be
seen as a different game.

Eric Malinowski says:

People have become whiners about everything these days. It’s too hard, it
costs too much, Waaa, Waaa, Let me call a Wambulance. Golf is a
challenging game, suck it up, do your homework!
I also think the larger hole is ridiculous. I thought is was a joke at
first! Soccer golf? STUPID. Top Golf range bars will not get people out
on the golf course. Bottom line……. Golf is too hard for a dumbed down
America!

George Blumel says:

OK, so in a strong economy developers over built golf courses. The golf
exec says kids graduating high school need to get in the sport. Why?? Kids
should caddy again -I did, but I never could afford the time or money to
actually play at a club until I was 38 (39 years ago). Now in a
bad-government economy fewer can afford the game. Municipal courses are
unnecessary –it is a business to some and a game to others – and not
something that should be subsidized by taxpayers who will never use it. The
gimmicky things like a bigger hole or footgolf are OK –but they’re like
the old Gooney Golf, an attraction for fun with the kids. To change the
game to attract more younger players is understandable coming from a golf
mfr. exec but the game is what it is and should not be changed that much
–it lasted over 100 yeas and will go on because it is a great game for
competition and social intercourse. Work, save, succeed and enjoy golf a
nice club. That’s golf.

kingsley Fenske says:

Come on folks. Yes golf can be expensive and is time consuming but where I
live I can play around of golf in four hours for $40.00. I take my grand
kids to movie pay 20.00 to get in and another 30.00 for treats.. Golf is a
great game that I can play for as long as I can walk and no way do I want
to or will play on any course that has 15 in holes. Period!

Robert Balog says:

Looks like golf is making the same mistakes that the governing bodies of
bowling made…..Bowling is now so easy that the once proud sport is more
difficult on a Wii than on the actual lanes.

Trust Tee says:

Is #golf too hard? “We’ve lost 5 million golfers over the past 10
years…research says they’re just not having fun.”

Mark King says free beers, 15″ holes. We think adding +Trusttee to your bag
will also help: http://bit.ly/1vww6QP #video 

D.R. Shoultz says:

Mr. King is interested in one thing and one thing only… $$$$$. What he
is seeking is not improving golf, he’s looking for another game altogether
that has nothing to do with golf. Golf has been around for the purist
and enthusiast for over 150 years. The number of pros competing at the top
level has never been higher. Rory McIlroy has to beat a larger number and
more talented players every week than Jack Nicklaus had to defeat.. The
downturn in golf has more to do with the US economy and real estate than
anything else. Golf is growing in other countries, and will grow again in
the U.S., once we get a president focused on growing the economy and not on
taking vacation and lowering his handicap….

Jennifer Estes says:

My 11 year old grandson wanted to take his grandfather to lunch at the club
when he picked him up after a lesson…Poppy was not a member and given an
“exception” to the rule and allowed to eat. Hello!
My husband, who can hit a 250 yd. drive now tees off a few yard behind me,
his wife, because he is a “senior,” where is fairness? Tennis has made
the game work for children, families and couples. Where is golf…they did
not grow into the real world.
Dress? Collars maybe, how silly when you are paying so much and a collar
makes you “qualify?”
The golf course I hope has a future. I love the game but it took years to
find a place for a beginner to place. Our teacher had to create a program.

Nine holes should be accepted if that is the only way to get a round in for
working people. Wake up golf people!!!

rodge911 says:

How come when I call it’s difficult to get a tee time? How come when I
plan a golf trip for 12 guys the resort courses tell me they will only make
tee times 30 days out? You think we will book hotel rooms and flights
without tee times??? 

Kevin OBrien says:

The ski industry gave snow boarders a hard time and some areas did not let
them ride on their slops. Now the snow boards are here to stay.

Lane Neff says:

Change is hard. This video applies to more than just golf. Change,
reinvent or die.

Donald Frank says:

Several things. Club mfg. should cut their prices in half to begin with.
No wonder the avg Joe doesn’t want to play, it’s to expensive to buy
clubs! Another item, let the beginner or less talented player use three
balls for each shot and use the better ball. You don’t need the hole the
size of a basket to have a good time.

Rob Evans says:

Personally, in my area of the Midwest, I think the state of golf is
actually getting better for the serious player like myself. 1) Price of
golf has come WAY down. Premier courses that charged $80 – $100+ per round
in the early 2000’s are now under $50 with one or two reduced rates days of
$25 or so per week. Also, reduced rates for Seniors all week. 2)
Marginal courses that were bad layouts or poorly maintained have closed.
3) Courses are not nearly as crowded as they were 10 years ago. Easier to
get on a course and faster rounds. 4) Courses are working hard to draw
players – better conditions, course improvements, perks such as lunch or
breakfast included in price, Pros and staff more people friendly. 5) Club
memberships are drastically reduced from 10 years ago with more streamlined
choices such as M- F passes, weekend only passes, punch cards, etc. 6)
Equipment for the most part is better every year – though still expensive.
But golf equipment is just like cars. Buy the latest edition driver and
pay $499. But buy last year’s driver and pay half that price. Big box
stores have great savings during the holidays. 7) Private Country Club
type courses are revenue starved and now open to the general public

Chuck Stevens says:

bryant gumbel is an unAmerican scum bucket ill never watch any tv show that
has him on it

Larry Sparks says:

There is golf ranger telling you to play faster when there is nobody behind
you, it makes you want to never go come back to this course.

Jode Powell says:

Mr King never once said anything about lowering the cost of clubs.. Drivers
cost $20.00 to make and they sell for $500.00.. there is the problem..

Thomas De Lello says:

Well… look at a pool table. There must be a dozen different billiards
games and variations of it all played on the same surface. So why can’t
there be variations of golf too…?

Lawrence Kozelenko says:

I love to play golf, but I can not afford to play at most courses because
of the cost. Fifty to two hundred and fifty dollars a round is
ridiculous!!!!!!. Cart rental of twenty to fifty dollars a round?
Ridiculous.. I will not pay that. Charge a dollar a hole for
golf, ten dollars a round for the cart, I’ll pay and play. I play every
day in Arizona from the middle of March to summer. The game is affordable,
but southern players will not play in the summer. I was born and raised in
valley where the temperature
rose to 120 degrees F. I find it comfortable to play in Arizona. Just add
water and lots of it. It is great to play in heat when you have
Arthritis…

Robert DeJay says:

Gumbel just had to bring in a comment about old fat white guys not wanting
minorities and women to play. He can’t resist doing anything without
bringing in race. No evidence, no poll figures. Just his own stupid
comment. It’s a bunch of crap. Golfers everywhere want to see it grow.
The few idiots that don’t is such a small number they are not worth
mentioning. And the stupid white guy agrees with him rather than looking
racist. What a couple of tools.

Rick Johnson says:

There are problems with Socal golf:
1) Certain groups (if I name them, I’m a bigot) refuse to rake traps or
repair greens 2) courses send out singles after foursomes…..of course, we
eventually let them play thru…..after letting numerous singles play thru,
we are waiting on the tees…..singles should have certain tee off times,
or they should be grouped into threesomes or foursomes 3) watching players
take six, seven, eight practice swings before every shot, then shank the
shot 80 eighty yards; 4) watch players tee up their ball, turn their back
to the green, walk back, stare down the fairway for 30 to 60 seconds, then
address their ball…..we are not pros, we are not on television…..4)
limit the time looking for lost or errant balls…..a few courses enforce
the rules, but the vast majority are only interested the getting the green
fees; after paying, it’s everyone for themselves…..

RJ

Trust Tee says:

We have a Golf Tee , the Trust-Tee that helps the average golfer help them
get on the fairway. Now many ask if this is USGA approved , does it really
matter when you are having fun. 40 million golfers , I’m sure not everyone
plays pro tournament .
Hit it Straight !

Tim Tullio says:

“even as the economy recovers” Gumbel, your as delusional as the
president YOU voted for.

Thomas Harsha says:

Gumbel also called Jack Nicklaus “arguably” the best of all time?!!? Who is
better?? Sure others have had talent but none the success or longevity in
addition to the talent. The Best, no question.

Larry E says:

Payback for an elitist sport that has disenfranchised more African
Americans then the Eisenhower administration

MrTrythebest says:

Did Gumbel actually say (with a straight face) that ‘since the economy is
going so much better now’? What planet is he on?

Nicholas Meares says:

Traditionalist or not, you know that TopGolf range looks incredibly fun

Dave Hicks says:

THE FUTURE OF GOLF

Hi Members,

An interesting view is presented on U Tube via HBO Real Sports: The Future
of Golf. To access this simply click on the HBO Real Sports etc heading
below. It does give some food for thought. Best regards,

Dave

TapTap says:

Bring down the cost and make it possible to make a living playing amateur
golf. Make it accessible with busses or other transportation to get to the
course easier. Make the range a competition (if you get a hole in one you
win a car) hype that up in the news and online. Thats how you get
customers, the old guys are not going out of their way to find your place
they don’t care about competitions, they just want to play close to them
were their friends play or at a club that is very exclusive and expensive
to keep out the kids but that market is . You need to attack the younger
crowed and make it exiting and get M0NEY ££$€€$ involved, if you can’t make
it exclusive this is the way to go not footgolf… Also get courses with
5holes instead of 18 and you could play it under 1h, this should be an
option, in tennis you can play to 3 if you want you don’t need to play best
of five sets.. In golf its limited. Obviously this has been manufactured to
wealthy individuals with a lot of tim on their hands but this is how you
get to the masses.

Randy Sativa says:

Thank the Federal Reserve for a worthless currency…

Jonathan Michaud says:

Golf is an expensive game….period.

Annamaria Matsui says:

1) Ladies leagues need to be advertised for ladies to know about them.
2) Golf stores need to be woman friendly to serious golfers. It took me
several months to find somewhere/someone to want to make a set of good
clubs for me. I don’t want a “pretty outfit” or “shiny clubs”. These
stores are still part of the old boy network & it’s WRONG
3) The green fees on many of the courses is outrages.
4) Definition of crazy is being expected to play at least 100 games on the
exact same course within a 4 month span.

Bobby Veylupek says:

GOLF Really needs to DO A LOT to become MORE INVITING and MORE FRIENDLY to
the MASSES!
GOD BLESS MR>KING and ALL HIS MEN/WOMEN that are working on New Methods to
Get People back to the GREATEST GAME EVER INVENTED! I am an Inventor…and
I’ve Invented many Golf Products and Putters and Clubs…I also have built
many GOOF GOLF COURSES on my Dad’s old Golf Course….back in the 60’s 70’s
and early 80’s!
There’s a Lot that the *INDUSTRY LEADERS could do….I thought of
*FREE-LESSONS-FRIDAYS!!!…Because one of the biggest problems has always
been that when people “Learn it Wrong from a *’Beer-Buddy or Old Uncle
Harry….they Learn it Wrong…Hit the Ball Wrong and want to Quit…right
away! I’ve seen this happen over and over again…throughout my life!
People need good FEEDBACK when Learning GOLF! All the New Ideas such as
High Tech triple and Quadrupple Layered Driving Ranges are GREAT!!! and
Having Techy Games that Record people’s Shots…that’s Also AWESOME! Kings
Idea of making it (*GOLF-FLOG-backwards’0 more FUN is Right On!!!
That’spart of it…and by all means…let’s let the Population that is not
upper-class know there are ways of getting good quality clubs w/o High
Dollars! Icould go on for days…but there really needs to be a MOVEMENT!!!
and I’m ALL IN!!!
bobby vey-LOVER of the GAME!!! of G_O_L_F!!!

Richard Hong says:

I love golf. But 6 hours (counting travel time, showering, etc.) is a lot
to block out. I would play with 15″ holes but still that only cuts the
time by an hour (as the video estimates). I think it would be better to
reconfigure the courses as three 6s. Play 18 if you want, but 12 is a fine
number. 9 is too short. Takes a couple of holes to get in the groove.
But when you don’t play a lot, you’re also dragging by 16. With 15″ cups,
you could play 12 in about 2:20. And with 15″ cups, we’d simply shift from
practicing putting to practicing chipping. You’d have several hole-out
opportunities per round.

Nitro Therapy says:

as a weekend golfer (duffer) I really enjoyed playing a 9 or 18 every
week, BUT, they course are charging upwards of $30.00 for 18 holes and for
a retired person that amounts to $120.00 per month for golf? itseems the
mindset is- if the number of golfers falls off, the cost must be moved on
to those who continue to play ifthey charged a reasonable amount for a
round they would have more people , itwas thesamewhen I had my airplane-
private flyingfell off, airportswent from $45.00 per month for atie down to
$90.00 -more aircraft left the field -see the trend? I had to take up
watching golf on TV.

John LaCrosse says:

The problem is not the GAME. The game has been played for 700 years. I
don’t think the last 7 years are the problem. I see the problem as
people not wanting to take the time to learn. The PROBLEM is that too many
people expect instant gratification. You want an answer to a
question?……GOOGLE !!!! You’re hungry?……..McDonalds. We have TV,
internet, IM’s, texting, twitter etc etc. Every thing is ‘here and now’.
I have a nephew who is an all American lacrosse player and he can’t play
golf well yet and he gets frustrated. He thinks he should be able play
like his uncle Mike (3 handicap) and me (PGA golf professional). I look at
him and say….. ” Tom, do you realize the TENS of THOUSANDS of golf balls
your uncle Mike and I have hit in our lifetime to be this good?” You can’t
always have what you want when you want it!!!! 15″ holes????? seriously?
And what about the other 300 yards between tee and green? Take lessons.
Join men’s and women’s clinics. Join jr. clinics. LEARN the game.
You may actually have to exert some effort and work at something to become
better instead of letting everyone take the easy way out.
Take responsibility for what you want to do and go WORK at it. Be
passionate about ANYTHING, be it golf, skiing, writing, whatever and then
make the time in your life to be the best at it that you can be. I
understand this may not sit well on the financial end of things, but I
don’t think 15″ holes and soccer golf are the answers. I am not saying I
have them, but I am working on finding some.

Blake Newman says:

I’ve been “playing” golf for over 30 years. I am a traditionalist in the
sense that I have a love/hate relationship with the game. There is nothing
so rewarding as hitting a great golf shot; nor is there anything as
frustrating and humbling as hitting a poor golf shot; but it’s an addiction
that millions of us share. We love the laughter and the cussing. We love
the camaraderie of friends – and even complete strangers we meet on the
first tee who happen to share the passion for golf. To me, there is
nothing quite like experiencing a well maintained golf course on a perfect
day when the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the smell of
freshly cut grass is in the air. It’s a perfect way to spend four hours.
That said… I think some of these new variations to the game look like a
hell-of-a lot of fun. I’m totally willing to give them a try.

Dave Davis says:

Mr. King says golf is too expensive while selling his new driver for $400.
They are selling on eBay for under $200. Perhaps they are knockoffs, but
don’t tell me that the real deal costs double to manufacture.

Watch golf on TV. the target audience is the affluent. Mercedes, Lexus,
Omega watches, etc.

For the game to succeed, it must has mass appeal both as a game and cost
wise. We are a long way from there.

Pro V1s @ $4.00 each. Pebble Beach greens fees at $500.

There have been major changes in other sports and while a larger hole seems
lik sacrilege to this traditionalist, I agree with Jack. If that’s what it
takes, then let’s do it.

Preston Mckinney says:

The major problem is the cost for many people. With many rounds of golf
average in excess of $100.00 per round, it deceases the number of people
being able to afford the sport. It seems to the story about two types of
golfers. The expensive country club golfer and public courses which some
are very affordable but others out of the range of the average player.

mollydooka17 says:

Bigger 15″ holes aren’t the answer for most golfers. Nothing more
satisfying than sinking a 20′ putt, or chipping in from off the green. On
the day that you putt well, at any level, from the pro to the 27-marker,
you’ll have a great net score that day. It’ll quickly become very boring
for anyone who already knows how to play golf if they know that each green
is an almost-guaranteed 1-putt. It diminishes the skill level needed (&
anyone can putt, even the complete beginner will manage to hole 1 putt per
round, but he/she is very unlikely to produce a booming draw straight down
the middle, or get it out of the bunker in one).
By all means put both options on the green, but don’t do away with the
traditional hole.

No-one’s mentioned how to make the game faster from tee to green (3-hole &
12-hole options are good ideas). Here’s some ideas:
Tennis has 2nd-serves, bring in 2nd-drives.
Allow 2 mulligans per hole (less duffed 10-metre fairway hits, less looking
for balls in the trees).
Encourage weekend hackers to play a form of stableford, it’s ridiculous
that inexperienced & poor golfers try to play stroke every weekend, holding
everyone up. Pick it up once you’re 2-3 strokes over the par of that hole.

And to get people in:
Have a half-price day every Tuesday, like the cinemas. And reduced prices
on summer evenings.
Half-price driving range days once or twice a week, with free club demos.

Totally agree with all the comments about overpriced clubs, a local store
has a Srixon driver for $799, wtf!!!
Major manufacturers need to have beginner-level budget-priced clubs. 

Roneified says:

Hey I can see where Mark King is coming from – The video game industry has
literally thrived under this exact concept before and it is a known fact
now that the more difficult your game is, the less money you will make.
Call of Duty realized this; their CoD1 and CoD2 had some of the steepest
learning curves we’d ever seen requiring hours and hours of play before
just breaking even in Kill-Death Ratio. CoD:MW2 came in and completely
destroyed the learning curve – within days of buying the game players could
be throwing up scores of 63-5. Every single FPS since then has had to come
to terms with this and made their game more accessible to the masses – and
making not millions, billions in the process; MW3, Ghosts, Blackops, BF3
and BF4 vs. BF2 – They’ve all made billions of dollars by dumbing down how
difficult their game is since their first incarnations. Golf could do the
same – and I really can’t blame them for trying as much as I hate how easy
it’s becoming.

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