‘Golf 2.0’ coming to a course near you

Money biggest deterrent for non-golfers

Golf can be a relaxing way to spend several hours outdoors. Many golfers will tell you it’s one of the best things about the sport aside from the friendly competition.

But ask a person who doesn’t play golf why they don’t pick up the sport and they’ll tell you it takes too long to play, is frustrating or costs too much money.

With that in mind, Glenn Goodwin and Denis Matte, two of Toronto’s biggest golf authorities, believe the sport needs tweaking to appeal to a more diverse population, especially one like Scarborough’s.

Goodwin, the Greater Toronto Area Golf Association’s president, says the game is too difficult, while Matte, Scarboro Golf and Country Club’s manager, says playing 18 holes takes too much time.

Both agree money is probably the biggest deterrent for people thinking about getting into golf.

With the sport’s three problems identified, Goodwin and Matte have come up with possible solutions.

“There are a lot of nine- and 12-hole golf courses popping up, and that’s probably what the future holds for golf,” Matte says. “A population like Scarborough, which has a high concentration of households with large families, have less time to play golf.”

Goodwin, on the other hand, wants to change the golf hole’s size.

“Having a bigger hole makes the game easier. And having an easier time means less frustration, more fun,” he said.

Jack Nicklaus, one of golf ’s legends, proposed the same idea during his keynote address at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show. He calls the new format “Golf 2.0.”

The current golf hole is 4.5 inches in diameter. Nicklaus has experimented with eight-inch holes.

Bigger holes and smaller courses mean faster play, which Matte and Goodwin believe may lower costs for a round.

“Small golf courses mean less maintenance and that would mean clubs charging less money for a round or a membership,” Matte says.

“Scarborough has many new immigrants and understandably money is tight, but it shouldn’t be a reason to keep them away from the game,” Goodwin says.

Public courses don’t require a membership and have relatively cheap daily rates.

“Public courses are great to start at and are very cheap,” Goodwin says. “Private courses like Scarboro Golf and Country are something one should probably strive towards.”

Time, difficulty, and expense weigh on the golf world, but the two men hope that tweaking a game they love can help with the games growth.

Finishing under par: Three ways to make golf accessible for Scarborough residents