August 22, 2017

Grow the game of Golf By: Mathew Cooke, Advisory Board

Grow the game of Golf By: Mathew Cooke, Advisory Board
Can you imagine a golfing world that is growing, thriving, invigorating and exciting? Envision people embarking on the journey to play golf and play better. Picture the number of golfers joining the game more than the golfers leaving the game. See in your minds eye golfers of all abilities enjoying the game and having fun.
An industry that ticks all the boxes and that we can relate to golf with is the gaming industry. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are gamers, and it’s an industry that is rapidly growing. There are 183 million active gamers in the United States alone; 5 million of these are called “extreme” gamers and they play on average forty-five hours a week! We know as golf coaches, with our obsession of constant improvement, that time like this spent engaged in deliberate golf practice means more and more birdies! It’s an algorithm that results in expertise.

Why does this more often than not fail to happen? What is science and tradition telling us that we have not caught onto yet? The answer is; traditional practice just doesn’t offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures, the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by game environments. It doesn’t motivate us effectively. It doesn’t maximize our potential.  Training ‘Game like’ fulfills our genuine human needs; it’s inspiring and can engage us in ways that the traditional training method does not. Games help bring us together and work towards a common goal as a team rather than against each other in solitary. Games will, if created using the following structure, create all of the above and can re-shape the golfing world. Performance games for the twentyfirst century will be a primary platform for enabling the future of golf. Games can often become too complex when they don’t contain three vital elements.

One is the goal (the objective, the specifics). Two are the rules that guide players to achieve the goals. Rules limit the obvious ways in how one will achieve the goal, so they actually do the opposite of what is commonly believed. They unleash creativity and enhance strategic thinking. The polar opposite to restrict, confine and remove thought processes. The final element is feedback – this tells players how close they are to achieving their goals – through the use of points, levels, scores or some form of progress that is seen visually.

“Expertise is defined as a sequence of mastered challenges with increased levels of difficulty in specific areas of functioning.”


Dr K. Anders Ericsson

If we embrace what science tells us and evidence shows us, we can revolutionize the golfing world. Lets open our minds and take what we can from the Xbox and PlayStation; their secrets lie in the structure of their games and with that structure we can take our youth outside and away from the TV screen.


By Matthew Cooke

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