St Andrews, Scotland: Lee Westwood has warned that golf needs a major overhaul of its image and format if it is to attract the next generation of players.
Speaking on his official Facebook page, Westwood called on the world’s leading golf organisations to do more to appeal to young and female golfers, such as introducing a shorter format of the game and making the sport cheaper and more accessible.
Recommendations from the former world number one also included enlarging the hole to make the game easier and more attractive to new players.
He said: “Golf is absolutely not doing enough. It needs to be promoted better – the R&A, the USGA, the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Asian Tour, the South African Tour need to do more to encourage young players to take up the game.
“They need to do more in Britain to encourage women to take up the game – there’s a very poor percentage that are women golfers in Britain.
“It needs to have the stigma taken away from it that it’s an old man’s game and that it’s for the ‘toffs’, if you want to call it that. It needs to be more available to the man in the street.
“I’m from a working class background and I started playing on a municipal golf course. There need to be more municipal golf courses and golf needs to be made more available to everybody.
“Obviously golf could be made less expensive. It needs to be quicker, with a shorter format – five hours on a Saturday or Sunday is too long to be out of the house.
“It needs a two-hour format. The hole maybe needs to be made bigger, made easier. It’s a tough game that can become painful at times so it needs to be made fun.”