Golf Association’s Message to Putters: “While We’re Young”

In a new series of fun videos, the U.S. Golf Association is trying to nudge golfers to spend a little less time thinking about hitting the ball before they swing.

In a world where it seems like things go way too fast sometimes, one association is working to fix the opposite problem on the golf course—with a little help from one the sport’s biggest superstars.

The  U.S. Golf Association, the sport’s governing body  in the United States and Mexico, hopes to cut playing time for golfers who often find themselves held up by too-cautious players. More details:

The problem: According to a report by Al Jazeera English, the USGA’s president, Glen D. Nager, spoke about the issue ahead of the U.S. Open, one of the sport’s biggest yearly events. “Pace of play has been an issue for decades, but it’s now become one of the most significant threats to the health of the game,” Nager told reporters. “Five-hour-plus rounds are common, and they’re incompatible with modern life. Beyond the time involved, poor pace of play saps the fun from the game, takes too much time, frustrates players, and discourages future play.” Nager also noted that such complaints from golfers have increased over time.

The campaign: With Tiger Woods playing a major role, the USGA’s advertising campaign is a pop-culture  callback to the movie punchline “While we’re young,” famously uttered by comic Rodney Dangerfield in the 1980 golf comedy Caddyshack. In the commercial (above), Woods is shown stressing over a putt,  and the people behind him call him out for it (we won’t reveal the amusing twist). When it comes to being kept waiting while others tee up, Woods says he’s been there. Discussing a recent victory, he noted that the slow play hurt his  game. “We played nine holes in just over three hours, and three of them are par threes,” he said, according to Al Jazeera English. “I started losing my patience a little bit, and that’s when I made a few mistakes.” Other golfers featured in the USGA commercials include the legendary Arnold Palmer, U.S. Women’s Open champs Annika Storenstam and Paula Creamer, and even golf fan Clint Eastwood. You can check them out on the USGA’s microsite, which also includes other tips for speeding up a golf game.

The first test of the USGA’s fight against slow play will come at this week’s U.S. Open, taking place at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. New rules being tried for the first time at the event will penalize golfers for slow play and require each golfer in a group to have a ball in play on a par-four or par-five course—a change meant to keep things moving more quickly.

Most associations aren’t in a position to get Tiger Woods to star in a commercial, but how might you follow the USGA’s approach of using humor to accomplish an organizational goal?

Offer up your own inspirations below.

(YouTube screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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