I’m probably going to tick a few people off with my following comments but you can’t fix what isn’t broken. I stumbled across a Twitter discussion the other day that got the two of the three brain cells in my cranium activated. The reason only two cells is because the 3rd is in charge of keeping my heart beating and lungs pumping air, but I digress. The question:
“How can we golf fix the wage gap between the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour?”
LPGA star Stacey Lewis in a recent Golf.com piece laments the pay gap:
“It’s pretty frustrating to still see the huge gap in what the guys are paid and we are paid, you know. When really we are doing the same thing and the only difference is the TV numbers and the TV ratings. That’s really it. We’re probably actually hitting more fairways than the guys and more greens than the guys, you know. There’s certain parts of the game we actually do better. Um, you know when I play with the guys a lot they’re like ‘do you ever miss a fairway?’ That’s usually what they say to me so, I mean, our games are pretty comparable so it’s just the exposure.”
My first reaction to the stats argument is that I know a guy who golfs every day and is 80 years old. He’s practically deaf and can barely see. I’ve NEVER seen this guy miss a fairway. He hits his driver about 100 yards and dead straight every time. He should be making $10 million a year! Think back to when Tiger Woods was dominating professional golf. His driving accuracy was terrible, barring a few stretches where it was just mediocre. But he could hit recovery shots nobody else could. He made the putts when he had to at the most dramatic times. It was golf entertainment at a level which had probably never been higher and may never be again.
How does TaylorMade market their drivers? The number one thing they’ll hit potential buyers with is distance. Sure they’ll mention accuracy as a side note but really, the buyer doesn’t seem to care that much. It’s about distance, power… It’s not about fairways hit or who hits the most greens in regulation. Otherwise Fred Funk would have been Tiger Woods. From a fan standpoint it’s about entertainment. All due respect to Fred Funk, I’d rather watch Tiger or Rory McIlory, Jason Day. That said, when Fred Funk won THE PLAYERS (always spell that in ALL CAPS. It’s what they do), his funky chicken dance was very entertaining.
Lewis says that if the women simply got more exposure they would become as popular as the men. Uh, no. I rarely watch professional golf anymore, but if I do, I want to watch the best, most exciting golfers on the planet. Those golfers are Rory McIlory, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth… You get it. Sure the LPGA players are talented and such, I’m not arguing that point.
When it boils down to nuts and bolts the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour are forms of entertainment, just like the NBA. The salaries of professional golfers are paid by the fans who either support the advertisers for events, or support the players’ sponsors. The players who draw the most attention naturally are the ones who can draw the biggest paychecks in the form of prize money and endorsements, like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlory, and so on. The men are obviously more entertaining to the general public than the women are, and therefore draw more revenue. The general public doesn’t care about fairway percentage or greens in regulation or the LPGA Tour would have surpassed the PGA Tour in viewership long ago.
Pro golf is not an industry like my day job doing web development. If I have a set of specific web development skills which are the same as a female web developer then it is certainly unfair that on average she would make 78 cents compared to every dollar I make. That is completely unfair and not right. But pro golf isn’t web development. It’s not managing a Subway. It’s not asset management or working at a bank or doing sales or flying an airplane. It’s an entertainment industry. In such an industry the money is driven by viewers.
Arguing for gender equity in professional golf is an argument that will never win. If the LPGA was truly as entertaining as the PGA Tour, it would have already established itself as an equal in viewership and sponsor dollars. It’s not and it never will be.
Last season they switched from manual/hand watering and installed a controversial automated irrigation system. That’s all done now and a byproduct of said irrigation system is a change on the first hole. The first is a very reachable par-5. I’m usually approaching this green with anything from 9-iron to a 5-iron depending on conditions. Just short of the green is a very steep slope which historically has had very deep grass. That deep grass typically ate balls up, keeping them from bouncing up to the green. It also made chipping a challenge.
Shot taken with my phone, so not the best quality. This is the slope which is now cut short.
That long grass is gone now. Apparently one of the reasons for the long grass was a watering issue. Now that there is a better irrigation system, that grass can be, and is cut short like the fairway. I’m not sure how this will play out yet. It could mean many more 2nd shots will bounce up onto the green. It could also mean that short shots and bad chips which don’t make the green may roll back anywhere from 10-30 yards.
It’s going to be interesting to track the scoring and analyze my approaches on #1 this coming season and see how what seems to be a minor change affects the outcome.
I’ve finally put a TaylorMade driver into play. No it isn’t the TaylorMade M1, or M2 or M5 (wait, that was Star Trek)… It’s a Tour Preferred 8.5 degree midsize System2 driver. This thing is a beast. Nope, it’s not adjustable. Can’t tweak the loft or the lie or adjust the compass on the bottom to north. All this driver does is open beer bottles and boy does it do a fantastic job. I’ve really tested this golf driver head bottle opener hard.
One can’t be too safe when it comes to golf accessories this important. A solid backup is a must. That’s why I have the Wilson Patty Berg Autograph persimmon driver, below.
This great use of old golf clubs is courtesy of a long time friend of the blog named Scott Jesse. Scott is a veteran and former golf pro who has a history of making some neat golf accessories.
These bottle openers can be purchased for a mere $15 plus shipping through the Elmjay Antiques and Up Cycle Facebook page. That beats the hell out of buying a $500 driver that will be obsolete and $24.99 in the used bin at the golf store before you reach the top of your backswing.
Think of Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays for golfers… So many great applications. How about these being the default openers at your golf club?
I’m thrilled that the snow has melted and I’m back in the swing of playing golf and testing out/reviewing the latest and greatest golf products. It has been a long winter with the courses closed some 4-5 months here.
Today’s review is the great new GolfBuddy CT2 Micro Golf GPS. Mico and watch GPS units are the rage in golf right now and for very good reasons. The golfer has a very small, convenient, and light unit which provides accurate yardages and other nice features. Let’s take a closer look at them all.
Portable size for pocket or mounting on a towel, belt, golf bag
40,000 courses in memory
17 hour battery life. Play several rounds on one charge.
Automatic hole distances to front, back and center of the green
Dynamic green view from the golfer’s perspective
Distances to hazards and other relevant course features for layup shots
Waterproof up to 10 meters (for the time you decide to go after that premium golf ball in the lake on the 4th hole)
On The Course
I love how quickly this GPS unit grabs onto the course I’m playing. Some GPS units can seriously take 1-2 holes before they “gain consciousness.” The yardages are fast and accurate. I’ve run this GPS side by side with others and cross referenced with laser rangefinders and the numbers are right on.
The size of this unit means carrying it on my person is no problem. I’ll either keep it in a pocket or attach it to my belt or clamp it to my pocket via the very strong clip. Another place I’ll put it is in the pencil holder of my golf bag (first picture). With this GPS unit on my person at all times I always know my numbers. No searching for markers or sprinkler heads and then walking off the numbers.
The unit also serves as an electronic scorecard. I’m more into the old school pencil and paper scorecard personally.
Below is a short video showing the unit and it’s features.
In The Box
Golf Buddy CT2 Mini Golf GPS
My only critique with the CT2 is the charging cable. It is a proprietary cable you’ll never find at a regular store. If you lose or damage the cable, or forget it on a golf trip, you can’t simply use a standard USB cable to charge the unit.
The CT2 is a fantastic micro/portable golf GPS that easily fits in the golfer’s pocket. Of all the golf GPS units I’ve tested to date, the CT2 has the longest battery life by far. The yardages are fast and accurate and the unit finds the right course quickly and easily.
One of my three home courses is Bonneville Golf Course, the most popular golf course in Utah. It’s great municipal course with tremendous greens, some nice elevation changes, and oddly, NO fairway bunkers anywhere. The only course I’ve ever seen that does not have a single fairway bunker.
Yesterday was my first round on this course for 2016. I started off nicely with a birdie on the first hole, a reachable par-5. I also made birdie on #10 and the par-5 16th. I had a bunch of bogeys and one double, not surprising since it was my first full round of 18 holes since about five months ago. All that added up to a +6 78 from the black tees. A somewhat respectable score so early in the season.
This was my first full round of on-course testing of the new Harry Taylor wedges. That’s taking some getting used to. I’m not hitting them as far as my old wedges yet. That could be due to spring rust, different grinds and/or different shafts on them. I did make a couple of very nice chips however, so that’s nice.
I’m trying to approach this season with a different attitude. Last season I let the game’s frustrations get the best of me to the point of nearly quitting. I lived and died on each shot, rather than just being out there and enjoying some fresh air and green grass. I’m sure I’ll still have frustrations but I’m going try and focus less on score and individual shots, and more on the overall experience.
We’ll see how long that lasts.
I didn’t walk the course yesterday as my playing partner always rides in a cart. I do need to walk more to get in better shape, and to get ready for the upcoming Scotland trip. Plus it will save a few bucks. By walking I could basically save enough in cart fees to play three walking rounds of golf for the cost of two riding.
Below is a photo I Tweeted from the 8th tee. Look at the fabulous green fairway in the foreground and the snow covered Mount Olympus in the background!
Somehow I managed to squeeze $12 out of my two opponents, despite giving up shots and/or a tee box. It was a nice day and nearly 70 degrees which is not normal for March here in northern Utah. I’ll take it. Bring on the global warming.