Lee Westwood's thoughts on the image of golf

Lee Westwood has been talking about the image of golf. It’s not something I haven’t heard before, but it’s good to bring these issues to the forefront every now and again.

“I think golf takes too long, the speed of play when people watch the professionals play is very slow and I don’t think that helps the perception of golf.

I don’t think golf takes too long to play, but people do need to know that there’s a difference between a professional playing and everyone else. A typical round of golf should take about three and a half hours. Sure, you may get held up when the course is busy, but it is better to have an active golf club rather than one where hardly anyone plays.

Also, in a world where everything is a rush, and we have this problem of instant gratification, it’s good to have a sport that is all about playing at a steady pace. I love playing out on the course, especially when I’m playing with my sons. It’s one of the few moments where you can get their complete and undivided attention, of course, the same goes with me.

The instant gratification of the modern world shouldn’t change the game of golf. Sure, we should make the sport more accessible for kids and also make it easier for them to get started. Shorter tees and six or nine hole rounds are a good start, but given time, they too will be able to conquer typical junior tees and play a full round of 18 holes.

“I think it’s very expensive still to play golf, more could be done to make it a bit cheaper to play.

Expensive, yes, but not the most expensive sport to play. You can be up and running playing golf on a budget. As always with any new hobby, don’t invest too much in equipment at the beginning. Start with the basics and build it up over time.

I mountain biked for 15 years before I decided to give it up. While I did struggle with back pain when cycling, the main issue I had was the expense of the sport. I couldn’t justify the cost when it came to upgrading components regularly.

I started golfing with a cheap set of clubs and a cheap bag. Over time the last few years, I’ve gradually replaced some of my clubs and the bag, but everything I have bought has been perfectly affordable and within my budget, as I learn to play the game.

“I think more girls and women could be encouraged to play, I don’t think they’re encouraged as much as they could be.

I agree on this one, so much so I am still badgering my wife to have a go at playing. It’s encouraging to see that girls are coming through the ranks in some of our local clubs and there is an active county team, but there could be more down to encourage more girls and women to play.

As for Lee’s comments on golf being too hard. I’m not so sure that making the sport easier to play is the answer. I’ve been chipping away (pardon the pun) at the game for a few years now. I’m far from winning any club competitions, but I’ve got to a level where I can score pretty reasonably on the course.