The start of a New Year is a time to review what has happened in the past one and look forward to what 2024 will bring us all. Unfortunately it is easy to get dragged into the mainstream golf press and the hand wringing and furrowed brows concerning the split at the top of the male professional game with LIV and the PGA and European Tours. Clearly this is an unsatisfactory state of affairs and all of us want to see the best players competing against each other in the biggest events. However, the idea that this affects the rest of the Golf world (approximately 99.99% of us by my reckoning) is very far from the truth. The numbers of people playing has continued to grow, rounds played are up and membership numbers across the UK and Europe continue to be healthy. In fact our friends at England Golf summed up the benefits beautifully in its 6 point analysis.
For me golf and life for that matter come down to Endeavour and Excellence with a little bit of Art thrown in! My favourite golf memories of 2023 on the grand golfing stage were the Walker Cup, Solheim and Ryder Cup, where terrific individual golf was joined up with the greater good of the team and the subject of money wasn't in the discussion.
On a personal level a great memory for me was attending Girls County Match Week watching our Hertfordshire Girls play 5 other Counties for the East Region Championship. It was a terrific few days and the standard of golf and comradery between the teams and players was first class. The icing on the cake was that Hertfordshire won, but I can honestly say my enjoyment and enthusiasm for what golf brings us all would have been just the same regardless of the result.
My golfing wish for 2024 is that the elite in the game remember why we play this amazing game, with the joy we get from a well struck shot, to the fellowship on and off the course and the hope and expectation that next time we play we will master it!!
May you all enjoy swimming in your golfing lane this year, may the majority of shots you hit go straight (hopefully not all straight, otherwise I'm out of a job :-) and we find the key to holing the putts you look at.
All the best for 2024
Fellow of the PGA