Golf has certainly seen a big change in the past decade, not only has the game become more accessible and relaxed but huge media and sponsorship contracts mean the game has caught up with rival sports.
Gone are the days of wearing knee length socks and being suspended from the club if you used the wrong entrance to the clubhouse. But has the integrity of the game changed?
Players are still respectful of each other and shake hands at the end and beginning of a game. Yes the stuffiness may have disappeared but the game has been modernised without loosing its essence. There is still Golf fashion which is adhered too and not argued with and its simple, the rules are the rules, like them or don't play!
This is what makes Golf great, the fact that players and fans still respect the integrity of the game. Yes some fans may have heckled players in the past and shout words that mean absolutely nothing to do with the game, but they are a tiny percentage of fans. The greatest thing to me is that a player can stand on the tee and the crowd are in silence, but yet the roar of the crowd and applause when credit is due is amazing.
Take the Ryder Cup as an example of good sportsmanship, I have never seen rival supporters swear or threaten each other. Yes they want their team to win, but if a player hits a great shot, it doesn't matter who they are it is commended. Crowds do not have to be separated or escorted by police or are being charged with racial abuse. There are not many other high profile sports that can boast such a reputation.
Golf teaches so many valuable lessons, not only for young golfers but players of all ages. I completely agree with changing club rules and making the game appeal to a younger and wider audience but keeping the essence and integrity is a must. Golfers don't have to worry about being abused or threatened when playing, which again is a massive attraction.
Yes there have been stories of high profile players going a little "off the rails" but the majority of the guys we see week in week out are extremely humble and grateful people, they have dedicated their lives to the sport and appreciate the crowds that make it possible.
These guys cannot afford to treat their bodies badly or its simple, if they don't perform they don't get the paycheque. Unlike other sports where a player can be signed and have a huge salary and not even play.
To sum it up golf is still in my opinion a modern gentleman's game, one that teaches so many valuable lessons and takes a lot of dedication and commitment. As a coach myself and having taught many young golfers, one thing I have always instilled in them is the integrity of the game! They have to be quiet and respect other players, shake hands and more importantly complement a good shot amongst other things. I am only 24 myself and these are all the things that make golf appeal to me more than any other sport.
Golfers respect each other, and realise how much hard work it takes to get there, as do the fans, they don't abuse attack or spit at each other like some other sports. This is to me what makes most gofers great role models for a younger generation of sportsmen and women.
I just wanted to share something that means a lot to me and what in my opinion makes golf great.