The Decline of Golf

There have been a few times in our sport’s history where it seemed the world held its breath to watch golf. It likely happened in 1930 when Jones capped off the unthinkable ‘Grandslam’ win. Again in Augusta, Georgia, when Nicklaus awakened from hibernation at the age of 46 to win his sixth green jacket. Most recently, Tiger in 2008 as he hobbled to victory on a torn knee. It’s moments like these that become the greatest marketing campaign our sport could ever get.

There’s arguably no other sport where the perception of a level playing field exists — even the early duffer can sink a 40 footer every now and then. While with other sports, it becomes certain at point, playing baseball at Wrigley or dunking on Lebron is unlikely.

Despite our game’s significant advantages in appeal, it takes considerable effort to understand and appreciate its depths. The idea that you can be just as good as Tiger on one hole won’t resonate with the average golfer until they’ve played enough to develop confidence and skill. The feeling of striking the perfect shot is addicting. Yet, knowing that perfect shot is still in you after the third duffed shot in a row is the ultimate enigma. But golf is in a decline; if it were a stock, Wall Street would be yelling “sell!”

Even a polished Power Point presentation couldn’t disprove the numbers. “Rounds played per year” is the standard barometer of measuring the sports popularity, however a much more alarming data point comes from a source most of us use every day: Google. Search terms with the word “golf” have steadily dropped year after year since 2004. It’s down 40% since 04’. You can see below, each summer, the game hits its annual peak, falls in the winter months, only to rise again during Masters’ time (indicated by bump in April).

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How to Putt Like a Surgeon – Tips for Putting Greatness

In the history of the sport, no style or position of putting has been left untried. Perhaps the only items left are the limits of technology. The purpose of this post is to instruct you how to putt like a surgeon. Not saying all surgeons are great putters, but most have a steady hands.

“Putting is like wisdom. Partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” – Arnold Palmer

Regardless of the technology, techniques, or form, putting is a highly individual art form. This post won’t claim one style of putting is superior than another. This post hopes to educate you on the styles, tips, and best practices that have yielded the highest results and then let you decide on how to putt best for you. We’ve already share how to hold the putter, but this one goes deeper.

For example, let’s analyze some of the best putters in our sport’s history. Below are great images of how to putt like the best putters. Notice each one has their unique style they’ve cultivated from continual trial and error.

“Still even in putting there is a right and a wrong way. Take the test of experience and you will find that in the long run the man who puts in the approved method wins the day.” – Henry James Whigham

Jack Nicklaus Putting

Jack Nicklaus had a very distinguishable style. Hunched over, knees bent, hands pressed forward, and an open stance characterized his style. If you’re wondering if changed over the years, take a look below.

Now take a look at his stance only a few years ago:

“If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.” – Dean Martin Continue reading “How to Putt Like a Surgeon – Tips for Putting Greatness”

Merion Golf Club: Golf as it Should Be

By: Jonathan Baker

Most courses ranked atop America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses have a special component to them. Something intangible that you don’t necessarily expect until you play there. Maybe it’s the history, the grounds, the exclusivity, the views, the course conditions. Whatever it is, it creates an aura around the entire experience that makes you float mindlessly, yet remember everything.

Golf as it was meant to be played: Merion East. Photo credit: Golf Digest.

I’ve been lucky enough to have this happen a few times. It’s come along the Pacific cliffs at Cypress Point, amid the azaleas at Augusta, and most recently among the white faces and wicker baskets at a course that embodies the true essence of golf’s golden age: Merion Golf Club.

Situated among the well-healed neighborhoods along Philadelphia’s Main Line, the Merion Cricket Club was founded in 1865, a sporting playground for the Philadelphia elite. By 1896, a golf contingent had emerged from the membership and with it, an 18-hole course on the club grounds in Haverford. A decade into the 20th century, Merion turned to Scotsman Hugh Wilson, to design and build a new course on acquired land in nearby Ardmore. By September of 1912, Merion Golf Club’s East Course opened for play, and was instantly hailed among experts, “the finest inland links in the country.” Continue reading “Merion Golf Club: Golf as it Should Be”

The Best Golf Movies: Trade in your putter for the remote

Can’t make it to the course today because of bad weather or a long day at work? Well, you can still experience the joy of golf without even putting on your golf shoes by enjoying one of these classic golf movies in the comfort of your own living room.

is a 1980s comedy starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O’Keefe, and Bill Murray. The film takes place at an exclusive golf club, probably a little more eccentric than your own (depending if your groundskeeper has an unhealthy obsession with a gopher or not). Director Harold Ramis sinks a perfect hole in one with Caddyshack’s side-splitting, wacky humor. The film became a model for other teen comedies of the early 1980s and was followed up by a sequel Caddyshack II.

Tin Cup (1996) is a romantic comedy about a former golf pro (Kevin Costner) who attempts to revive his golf career, in order to qualify for the US Open and steal his rival’s girlfriend. Kevin Costner probably does such a great job depicting a golf-pro because the guy can actually golf! He is ranked number 39 in Golf Digest’s “Hollywood’s Top 100 Golfers.” Continue reading “The Best Golf Movies: Trade in your putter for the remote”

Bobby Jones and The Masters

Masters week is here which means Christmas-morning-like excitement for golfers world-wide.

The Masters Tournament is the best viewing experience in sports, there’s no question. What makes it the venue, experience, and tradition like no other? The legacy of Bob Jones.

There’s a reason Bobby Jones’ polite portrait is displayed in the locker rooms of Peachtree Golf Club, East Lake Golf Course, Merion Golf Club, Augusta National Golf Club, and hundreds of clubs throughout the world. The game of golf is played by the most powerful men in the world: money, power, and achievement is attained by many players of our sport. However, earning our society’s highest accomplishments while maintaing humility, tact, and grace was never performed better than Bob Jones. No CEO, politician, or athlete will ever achieve Mr. Jones’ status in society while maintaining his level of humility. It’s impossible to put in words.

Pictures and his words are all we have now.

Continue reading “Bobby Jones and The Masters”

The Single Club

There’s something comforting about having a golf club only a few paces away. The office, the living room, or even a lightly trafficked hallway are all locations where I’ve received enjoyment from its mere presence. Then, to stand over it, take a few putts or practice swings with your work attire or gym clothes on keeps the game familiar and fresh even in the most unsuspecting times of the year. As we all ramp up for this golf season, a good way to start is by taking one club out of the bag and put it somewhere you frequent often. You’ll get more inspiration from the club being in your hand than any book, article, or blog could ever assemble.

Jon @

7 Golf Photos You Should Put in Your Home

Golf photography is unlike any other sport. There are so many facets to it – the style, emotion, scenery – it’s fascinating, yet overwhelming. A golf photo has versatility. For instance, there are golf photos appropriate for the guest room bathroom, then there are photos for the living room and if daring enough, the dining room. Regardless of style or taste, each photo has a place in a golfer’s home. This post shares 7 golf photos and where they could go in your house.

Bobby Jones, 18th hole at St. Andrews: “Carried Like a King”

In 1930, the year Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam, the British Amateur was held at St. Andrews. Below is a picture of Bobby Jone being hoisted by the crowd as he holds up his famous putter, Calamity Jane. Bobby became such a crowd and city favorite, in 1958, he was awarded with the Freedom of St. Andrews. The only other American bestowed with such honor was Benjamin Franklin. Watch his acceptance speech here.

Place in the house for “Carried Like a King:” – The Smoking Room. Continue reading “7 Golf Photos You Should Put in Your Home”

Freddie and Me: Interview with Tripp Bowden

I’m convinced there are not enough golf books in this world. Millions of fantastic golf stories are untold because they were never journaled. Fortunately for the golf world, Tripp Bowden chronicled his experience as one of the first white caddies at Augusta National Golf Club. His book, Freddie and Me, takes the reader inside the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club and tells stories from the club with Freddie Bennett — the revered caddie master of 30+ years — as the focal point.

Freddie and Me touched on many of life’s greater observations. Tripp was kind enough to answer my follow up questions about Freddie, the course, and golf. Continue reading “Freddie and Me: Interview with Tripp Bowden”

Lessons in Being A True Golfer From Ben Hogan

As we enter a new year, I thought it interesting to recollect on the zen of Ben Hogan. There are hundreds of stories that depict Ben Hogan as a man of many sides: harsh, determined, exact, closed, detailed, mysterious and even humorous — in the right circles.

Regardless of popular perception, there is arguably no other man in the history of the sport who understood his game and golf better. Except for a few films, interviews, and one of the most popular instructional books, Hogan left us little to study. This post is focused not so much on the tangibles he left, but more on what we can learn from the golfer and man that was Hogan and how we can apply it to our game and life.

Have clear motivation early on.

In a 1987 Golf Magazine Interview, Hogan was asked, “What was it that drove you so hard? His answers were clear and short:

“Three things. One, I didn’t want to be a burden to my mother. Two, I needed to put food on the table. Three, I needed a place to sleep.”

Hogan was $86 dollars away from giving up the game. Luckily for the golf world, he earned a couple hundred dollars that week and his career continued.

After he became settled and more comfortable financially, he didn’t allow for life’s luxuries to deter his focus.

GOLF Magazine: Once you and your family were eating well and sleeping comfortably, then what drove you?
HOGAN: Pride. Determination. I saw an opportunity. And when you see an opportunity, you practice and work, at least from sunup to sundown. Continue reading “Lessons in Being A True Golfer From Ben Hogan”

Dean Martin’s Line of Golf Balls

I find it fascinating when celebrities represent certain brands. So, there was great pleasure when I came across a 1960′s commercial starring Dean Martin sponsoring Dino’s Golf Balls. However, there was no question as to why Dean Martin would sponsor this brand because it was his own line of golf balls!

The production is classic. The Ventures’ Hawaii Five-0 plays while Martin’s facial expressions and antics of frustration finally reside after hope transitions into joy — all in under a minute.

The most surprising piece of this commercial is the customer satisfaction guarantee and return policy after they’ve been used. The voice over states:

“Try one. If you don’t agree, return the dozen and get your money back. Exclusively at White Front Stores.”

Of course we can’t leave this post without displaying some of the talent and charisma that made Dean so successful. Below is him singing “That’s Amore.” Enjoy!

Who is your favorite celebrity that has represented a golf brand or company?