If you were to use the term "hack" amongst a group of golfing aficionados, it would most likely be in reference to some poor soul plodding their way from one hazard to the next.
Back in January however at the PGA Show in Orlando, the word ‘hack’ took on a very different meaning after the CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas, Mark King unveiled “Hack Golf,” an initiative aimed to help stem participation declines in the sport. The idea of ‘Hack golf’ is to crowd source ideas from anybody and everyone on how to do this, with TaylorMade pledging $5million to test out the best suggestions over the next 5 years.
Let’s get right to the crux of the matter, golf as a sport has lost 5 million golfers over the last 10 years and we collectively need to find fresh solutions to entice new people to fall in love with this great game. Most worryingly, if you believe the research, there has been a 30% decline in the 18-34 age category.
There is an air of Deja-vu about all this industry introspection and self-deprecation, with schemes such as Grow the Game, The First Tee, Play it Forward and Get Golf Ready all looking to increase engagement but all critiqued for promoting the same brand of golf. Our favourite quote is from Ron Sirak (Golf Digest) which beautifully sums this up, “It's safe to say we've identified the hell out of this problem.”
We don’t think that golf should be too harsh on itself. It is by its very nature a difficult sport and in this globalised internet crazed world where people’s attention span has diminished rapidly, it’s no wonder that golf is no exception.
What is needed then to stop the rot? A revolution we hear you cry! Using Hack golf as the platform, feathers need to be ruffled in the upper echelons of the game so we can attract a new audience to a shorter, cooler and easier form of golf which utilises new technologies providing a stepping stone into the current traditional game.
Go to http://www.hackgolf.org/ and voice your solution – anything goes.