Golf is one of the greatest games ever developed. It combines power and precision, requires mental acuity and toughness, and fosters a code of ethics unparalleled in any sport.
But golf is also difficult and frustrating to the vast majority of players. No other sport asks you your "handicap" before you play. No other sport plays the same venues and with the same equipment as professionals.
Baseball has T-ball, Little League and softball. Sailing has monohulls and multihulls of all different classes. Football has pee-wee, flag and touch. Basketball has ball sizes and hoop heights. Think skiing and snowboards. Water skis and wake boards. English and Western horseback riding.
But golf? Miniature golf through windmills? Clubs and balls being ruled "illegal"?
The mission of the AGA is to promote "Golf for the Rest of Us." While there are about 200 players in the world who make serious money playing the game, there are about 50 million in the United States alone who have invested time and money learning the game. About 25 million play in any year, but only about 5 million are considered core players. The other 20 million are slowly reducing their play or are leaving the game .
The AGA believes this decline is structural, not just a result of the prolonged economic conditions. Golf is regulated by the USGA, whose goal is to "protect" the game, not grow it. The explosion of the internet, gaming, social networks and other entertainment options has not made consumers look kindly on golf; its difficulty, social rules, time and expense make it a poor value in today’s world. The days when a father would spend a Saturday teaching his son golf, or playing with his son caddying, have given way to organized sports, video games and family fragmentation.
The AGA believes the USGA format and rules are entirely appropriate for those aspiring to be at the pinnacle of the game, just as major league baseball maintains its format and rules at lower levels. But also like baseball, we believe the game of golf should offer alternatives to bring out the best of the game and encourage more play with more enjoyment by allowing different rules and equipment.
As you look through our website, there is a common theme: Playability.
Playability translates to having fun and improving your skills. We approach golf not to get the best score, but to best "play to your ability."
In our rules and equipment, you will see differences from the USGA that may seem odd at first. Like "tee it anywhere." Just give these some thought. Play-it-where-it-lies is perhaps the most costly rule in USGA golf, because of chunked and skulled shots, but also because of the cost of maintaining perfect fairways with incredible amounts of water and fertilizer. Tee it anywhere, and as you get better, you tee it lower and lower until you don’t need it at all.
It is the AGA mission to bring to golf what baseball has encouraged: ways to enjoy the game as you grow and improve, as well as enjoy it as you age. There are 100 times more people who play softball than they are playing hardball. Why not open that door in golf, for the 20 million rest of us?
Read on for the point-by-point case supporting the AGA and Flogton.