Golfing ‘Dinosaurs’ Emerge into Contactless Era

Singapore: With a little subtle coercion, even some of golf’s most obtuse ‘dinosaurs’ are being belatedly dragged into the 21st century.

Although it’s par for the course for golf clubs around the world to receive resistance to technological advancements from senior members, there’s evidence to suggest that hearts and minds are being won over in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking during the latest Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) webinar on ‘Why New Technology is Now Essential in Golf Course Management’, Golf Genius executive Peter Shaw said baby boomers fighting against the march of technology was an occupational hazard.

“Ever since Golf Genius came to Australia, we’ve seen a reluctance to try out new technology among baby boomers and the over-55s, people in that age bracket,” said Brisbane-based Shaw, Director International Sales for Golf Genius, one of the world’s leading suppliers of tournament management solutions.

However, with the introduction of new protocols and an emphasis on contactless operations as countries emerge from the Coronavirus outbreak, Shaw says he’s glimpsed welcome signs of open-mindedness among the elder generation to adopting new measures, such as on-line tee-time bookings and keeping score on your mobile phone rather than using a physical scorecard.

“We’ve got a guy we love to call ‘Dinosaur’ at one of the districts here on the Gold Coast. By his own admission, he couldn’t even open an email,” recounted Shaw, adding that once the gentleman concerned had witnessed how easy it was to use new technology and understood how it could benefit him and his golfing partners there was a stark change in attitude.

“Now he’s the one who’s driving it in his district, telling people they have to go contactless – and showing them how to do it!

“As long as you’re not banging them over the head saying: ‘You must, you must, you must’, quite often it’s the hardest cases who becomes your biggest advocate,” added Shaw.

Joining Shaw and Craig Higgs, Managing Director, Golf Genius Software, in the discussion on tournament play and software in the time of Covid-19 were Steven Thielke, Chief Executive Officer at Malaysia’s TPC Kuala Lumpur, and Paul Booth, General Manager, Al Hamra Golf Club, located in the most northern of the UAE’s seven Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah.  

Booth concurred with Shaw’s experiences. “We felt resistance initially from the baby boomers but Covid-19 has fast-tracked their interest in how the technology works … and for buying into it. Covid has also fast-tracked the way the millennials want us to go and we’ll need to go in the future with the club business,” said Booth.

The webinar, which was moderated by Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Gs3tk3ARpqc

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