Andrew Curry writes:
As The Open Championship hits its stride in Lytham St Annes, I thought I should mention that we’ve just written for HSBC a report on the future of golf. HSBC’s a patron of The Open, and sponsors a number of tournaments – including women’s tournaments – in various parts of the world, as well as supporting junior golf programmes in both the UK and China. Hence their interest in how the game could evolve.
Golf’s 2020 Vision: The HSBC Report looks at the big trends that will shape the game over the next decade, including the rise of Asia, more women (and young people) coming into the game, the emergence of shorter forms, the impact of digital technology, and the rise of sustainability issues. Working with Hill+Knowlton’s sports team, we also secured a range of interviews with leading golfers, including Gary Player, one of the game’s greats.
As a taster, here’s the ’12-hole guide’ to golf in 2020, taken from the report:
- Golf clubs and golf courses will become more family friendly. There will be family rooms instead of bars, holes set up for younger players, and certified womenfriendly facilities.
- Six and nine hole formats, and othershort-forms, complement the 18-hole tradition. A pay-TV sports channel accelerates this trend by promoting a professional short-form competition.
- Golf will benefit from its association with younger fitter players—driving more fashion and more word on the street.
- The ‘next’ Tiger Woods—the hot sponsorship and TV property of 2020—will be a young Asian player.
- Asian golf brands will be making major inroads into the golf equipment and clothing market.
- Golf becomes more unisex. As more women come into the game, golf becomes the way for men and women to share leisure time—as cycling has done in richer markets.
- Golf simulation games—using motion sensors and gestural interfaces—become mainstream.
- Gamers become golfers. Social gaming environments and family-oriented golf video games encourage people to move into the sport, not the other way around.
- The app as caddy: smartphone and tablet software helps golfers make the right choices, while sensors in equipmentand on courses—the smart coach—help players learn from their mistakes.
- Golf becomes a centre of expertise in water management, conservation and biodiversity.
- The first carbon positive courses are opened—in a hail of publicity.
- The authorities change the rules about equipment to reduce the distances achieved by professionals and bring course lengths back under control.
The photograph at the top of the post, included in the Golf’s 2020 Vision shows American golfers Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer of the USA giving advice to young golfers from Singapore and China during an HSBC Junior Clinic held in Singapore. It was supplied by HSBC and it is used with thanks.