Most males are pretty macho when it comes to playing and/or watching sport – big hits, knockouts, takeouts and wipeouts. So why are so many of our kiwi men spending so much time following Lydia Ko’s progress on the golf scene?
Probably it’s because even the most testosterone-charged of us still enjoys a bit of sporting finesse. Sure, we can watch Dustin and Rory and the rest belt out million-mile drives – but Lydia and a lot of the other girls on the LPGA circuit brings us a different take on the game. Their ability to hit greens from a good distance, get close to the pin and sink some sensational putts shows us mere mortals how skill can be at least the equal of brute force.
Add to that’s Lydia’s brilliant approach to the golfing life. She enjoys it, unlike a lot of the boorish Pros (no names but you know who we mean) on the men’s circuit. Probably it’s easy to smile when you’ve got bucks spilling out of your back pocket -but it’s great to see her and other LPGA players actually smiling while they play. Sure, our grim rugby players, our leaguies and their like, can all crank out a bit of a grin after the game but you’ve got to wonder how much fun they’re having while they’re out on the field.
OK, we don’t want the boys going all gooey. We still want tough physical contests and, ifwe’re honest, don’t mind a bit of biff now and then. But do we have to buy into the feeling they all hate each other. Hell, they play with each other enough, they share a few beers after the game, so why not a bit of “mate” attitude while they’re on the field.
Maybe we’re dreaming. But if you want to see top quality sport played with intensity – but also laced with camaraderie – check out the LPGA. For the “real” males, there are some good-looking girls out there – but, more than that, there’s a good look about the way they play the game.
The more golf you play the more you realise it’s there’s more to it than just “tee it up and blast it”. And whether you play just socially with your mates or you’re keen to get into it properly, the golf handicap thing becomes important.
So, to get a proper NZ golf handicap you have to join a club … and pay out a fair few bucks for your sub No choice there – but you do have a real choice where you join and how much you pay.
We understand that you might not want to play one course all the time, or fork out a couple of grand to join a city club. So we came up with our Rookie sub – just $120 a year (plus a $30 admin fee the first year only) for real membership of Mangawhai. That gets you into the Dotgolf system and lets you sort out a real NZ Golf handicap that’s valid at any club. You pay signicantly reduced rates when you play at Mangawhai, and affiliated rates at any other club. So after, say, 8 rounds a year you’ve saved the cost of the Rookie sub.
OK, we know some back-country clubs have offered this sort of thing – but they’re courses you’ll most probably never get to play. Whereas, as a Mangawhai Rookie member, your home course is one of NZ’s highest regarded layouts and not much more than 1 hour north of the Auckland CBD.
Plus, once you’re a Mangawhai Rookie we offer you deals and special offers from time to time that reward you for your membership and encourage you to get your mates to join up with you.
A quick answer to that is, “No!”. No matter how much the market is changing, the great majority of golf clubs – around the world and very certainly here in New Zealand – don’t go out of their way to make the casual (aka “non-affiliated”) golfer feel as through he or she is a valued customer. Sadly, too many clubs are locked into traditional “membership first” models that are becoming increasingly out of date.
Today’s younger golfer generally doesn’t share the club-loyalty traits of older generations. Their love of the game is just as strong, but they prefer variety and the ability to challenge themselves in different golfing environments. Sure, one day they may well become members of a golf club but right now their priorities lie elsewhere, as they form relationships, start families, travel and pursue other sporting/leisure activities.
A “traditional” golf club – and there are a lot of them out there = will shrug and say “well, when they’re ready to join us, we’ll welcome them.”. They’ll continue to trumpet the values of full membership and man the ramparts against the invasion of the casuals. Which is, to be blunt, a bit short-sighted.
The reality is that, in New Zealand, nearer 75% of those who claim to play golf do not belong to golf clubs. Yet the amount they spend on golf is way beyond just “significant”.
Here at Mangawhai, we see casual golfers, non-affiliates, whatever you want to call them as the lifeblood of our future game. We’ve always welcomed greenfee players – and now we’ve taken a giant step further toward embracing this side of the game via our new Unbeatable Golf programme. Simplistically, this programme, with its own stand-alone website, offers value-added packages for golf at Mangawhai. The aim is to say, “hey, we don’t care if you belong to the great family of club golfers or if you just enjoy a knock-around with your mates – you’re welcome here!”.
And this is a just a start. We have a new initiative planned which addresses the membership issue from the viewpoint of the casual golfer, giving this group what they want as opposed to what golf clbs think they should have. More details soon … and it will be a huge step ahead for golfers everywhere!