Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.
It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. What’s your resolution for golf in 2021?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Not so much resolutions as wishes on a star… Professionally, I’d like to see any Canadian player win a Major… but especially Brooke Henderson. As for the game itself… I realize this will NEVER happen… but I would love to see some (if not all) prominent private courses like Pine Valley or Augusta or Royal Melbourne or Sunningdale (or here in Canada, Capilano or Ancaster) open their courses for one day each week and allow non-members to play and appreciate their great facilities. I’m a private club member myself, and I often feel guilty that I have such an exclusive privilege.
Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): What do I want to see for golf in 2021? Similar to 2020, except a full season (all months) of packed tee sheets and practice ranges where the game is introduced to many more people. We know it to be a sport that has a COVID safe environment, so I hope everyone tries it and enjoys their experience, so they come back for more. And for core golfers, don’t take the game for granted, look at other industries and their struggles, appreciate what we have.
Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame member, PGA of Canada: In 2021, I have signed up to take a rules course. There are so many changes over the past couple of years I need to get caught up. I’m also taking on the organizing of a group of seniors who belong to our local Probus Group. My resolution is to grow it from 8 to 12 players weekly to 35 to 45.
TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): Well, I’ll go with the easy one. Let’s get to a point in 2021 (hopefully by early summer) where fans are allowed back at the tournaments. Wouldn’t it be great if patrons were allowed on the grounds of Augusta National in April? Oh, to dream.
Hal Quinn, Freelance writer, Vancouver: Like most resolutions, this one too is repeated every year. But it would make 2021 memorable and the professional games so much better and more palatable (and by trickle down improve the game on every level) if the Tours resolved to finally take the issue of slow play seriously and started penalizing the tortoises (and we all know who the slowest among the slow are) with strokes not warnings. Stay tuned for the same wishful resolution same time next year.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): My resolution for golf in 2021 is to be more inclusive, be more welcoming and understand that not everybody wants or can have the same thing. There is a tendency to sell golf in 18-hole chunks, which we all know takes 4-5 hours to play. Last year was a total aberration with tee sheets full pretty much all season. Courses didn’t have to get creative. That won’t last and if golf wants to continue to grow and attract new players as well as time constrained players, it will have to think outside the box to get them. How about 3-, 6- or 12-hole loops; short course options; speed golf; theme days; and different formats like alternate shot and Stableford scoring? A golf tournament may be 18 holes with rules, but recreational golf can be anything we want it to be.
What’s your personal golf resolution in 2021?
Deeks: Well, y’know, it’s probably too early to think I might shoot my age, but it’s the one Holy Grail in golf that I hope I’ll achieve one day. I’m getting closer each year, but Age and Ability… they’re both on the same upward progression. So, for 2021, perhaps I’ll just stick with the goal of lowering my handicap by a shot, in the face of substantially reduced distance, less touch, and a continuing recognition of the fact that I am incapable of sinking a putt over six feet in length. But a guy can dream, can’t he?
Loughry: My personal golf New Years resolution is to play more than 10 rounds with my ten-year-old son, and to lower my handicap index by 1.0 point. Easily measurable on both counts.
Schurman: I began this resolution in June of 2020. I am doing a complete game re-build. I’m changing my swing, my short-game and my putting. I’m fed-up playing like I play. In 2021, I am going to shoot my age. I did it once when I was 69, I shot 65. This year I will be 75.
Rule: I realized last summer that I’m officially getting old as I seem to have lost a fair bit of distance in the last year. Not sure where it went and it’s mostly with my driver, but my goal for 2021 is to find where I put it! A little help from a workout program, a new driver, and some work on speed training hopefully will help too. I’m throwing everything at it – not to DeChambeau levels mind you – to see if I can recover some distance off the tee.
Quinn: I resolve to get back in the SIM and again test my RAZR Fit Xtreme driver (circa 2013) against the latest and greatest, all no doubt promising to be even longer and faster (key current buzz word) than last year’s iterations. Was terribly disappointed last year when my relic matched — in carry and total distance — the top three 2020 drivers measured by price and hype. Here’s hoping 2021 technology can give me some relief.
Mumford: I’d like to say that my resolution is to shoot Michael Schurman’s age too but that would require more practice and more determination than I’m feeling right now. Last year, due to COVID and travel restrictions, I missed playing several fun events and numerous rounds with old friends. If I can get those games back, it will be a good year.
Over the past couple of seasons, a number of elite players have slipped down the World Golf Rankings for a variety of reasons and their careers appear to be at a crossroad, including Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari. Which player is most likely to rebound with a big year in 2021?
Deeks: What a good question! If you asked each of those guys, I’m sure they’d say “me!” Of that group, though, I’d probably say Rickie Fowler will rebound, simply because he hasn’t quite reached the heights that the others have, and therefore hasn’t fallen as far, and therefore may not be trying as hard as the others to regain the pinnacle — and we all know how trying too hard can yield unsatisfying results. But to be honest, I’m a fan of every one of those guys, and I hope they all rebound in 2021… along with the rest of the world. Happy New Year to everyone!
Loughry: This is a nasty question. I think the player out of the ones mentioned its Rose for me. He’s ranked 39th in the OWR which is a little ahead of Day. I think Rose has the game and work ethic to get back into the top 10, although with the equipment change in 2019, maybe that has something to do with the drop? Which he got out of that contract back in May-June 2020. So, we might see some improvement if he finds himself some clubs he settles into. I’d say day, but between injuries and desire, I don’t think he’s putting the work in to get into the top 10 (I’m not sure that matters to him all that much these days).
Schurman: None of the players you have listed have the incentive for a comeback. They all had excellent careers that built to a crescendo and then tapered off once their banks were stuffed full. My pick is Shane Lowry. He hasn’t really fallen like the others, but he was headed for stardom when he arrived suddenly and won The Open. His instant success caused him a bit of a blip on the radar. Now that he is more comfortable as The Champion Golfer of the Year, look for more great things.
Rule: It seems like many people are thinking Spieth will rebound nicely this year but I’m not in that boat. I think Justin Rose will have a nice rebound year, he’s still young and uber talented, and I think he’ll win at least once and contend in a major.
Quinn: A ‘big’ year will mean something different to each of these guys. Can’t see a big year for any of them in terms of multiple wins or serious contention in the Majors, but if he stays healthy (big if) Day could have a solid season and maybe a win.
Mumford: I think Fowler and Rose are most likely to rebound and contend in majors in 2021. The others are all fighting demons, changes or injury. Spieth is the biggest enigma in professional golf. So much talent; so little in the way of results. He needs a big ERASE button to clear his head and go back to the Spieth of 2015. If he can find that restorative solution, he still has the most upside.