Andrew Donaldson of The Marshes Golf Club discusses the state of golf and what’s happening in the Ottawa-Gatineau region in the third of a biweekly summer series.
What are your thoughts on Jack Nicklaus building 12-hole courses and some properties offering non-traditional six and 12 hole green fee rates in a bid to cut down on the playing time investment by recreational golfers? I believe it’s a strong idea as the time required to play a full 18 hole round is difficult to justify in our normal course of a day as we have so many other activities and options to schedule into those waking hours. If I had Nicklaus’ power and persuasion, I would create an 18-hole course with three six hole loops so a golfer has the option of playing 6, 12 or 18 holes.
Now that Tiger Woods is struggling and Phil Mickelson turned 45-years-old last month, what would be the next most compelling rivalry that would draw more online and TV viewers? Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy would be easiest rivalry to hope for. The PGA and European Tour are filled with young, dynamic and talented players; I would hope that professional golf could survive on having multiple weekly rivalries between any of the best players in the world instead of focusing on just two individuals.
Do you believe it would benefit golf course owners if rule changes were brought in to deaden the golf ball? Not at all. The amateur golfer is looking for more distance and we have clearly been shown by the USGA that a course set up has more to do with controlling par than the distance a golf ball flies or the length of a hole.
As coach of the Carleton University Ravens men’s golf team, what is the status of the university game for men and women in Canada and what would you change? It’s better than anyone could imagine. The talent level in the OUA is comparable to that of the NCAA. We are just restricted by length of our season (September to October) and recruitment as no Canadian institute can offer scholarships so some of our best players are lured south of the border.
Does the recreational golf industry in Canada do a good enough job of promoting itself? Canada has a high participation level in comparison to other golfing nations. That said, I believe we can always better our promotion of the game by looking at expanding our channels of communication. With less entry barriers and more guidance as to how to start playing the game, I believe we can grow our participation levels in none traditional segments; for example new Canadians, junior girls, etc.
Andrew Donaldson is the Director of Golf Operations at The Marshes Golf Club, a Class “A” member of the PGA of Canada since 2004, a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and Head Coach of the Carleton University Men’s Golf Team.