Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Future of Golf?

There's a new golf league in town, just launched today.

What is it?

A golf league with match play competitions in team play format for aspiring PGA and LPGA tour players, with involvement from the fans! The Pro Team Golf League.

It almost seems too obvious, begging the question: Why hasn't this been done before?

I was invited to attend a press conference for the launch of a "new golf experience that we think will dramatically change how the game is played professionally, and how it is enjoyed by fans."

I know - that's what I said - suuuuure! Can it really be that important?
I have to admit, I was pretty intrigued. I sometimes get requests to try and/or review and/or promote new products and most of them are less than impressive, which is why you don't see too much of that here.

This one is the real deal, and really could be game changing for golf. Wait, that's not right. Of course golf will still be golf. They're not going to change the rules or anything. In fact, all the competitions will be golf by USGA rules. And all the golf will be in team match play format much like that of the Ryder Cup. That's where the traditional aspects end.

So who plays?

Teams are assembled from "touring professional golfers not playing on the PGA or Nationwide tours." I guess this means that anyone playing on the LPGA is eligible? But I digress. I think I did see somewhere on their website that LPGA players are also ineligible, which hints that there might be female teams or even co-ed teams being developed. Right now, there are two teams - USA and Canada - which have been assembled from the top money earners on the Canadian Tour. From the looks of it, Canada currently has a numbers advantage with 11 players to the USA's 10, but I guess things are still in the works.

They're planning a kickoff event of USA vs. Canada to be held in Jamaica this December. They expect to have eight North American teams for the inaugural 2007 season.

This seems like a great farm system for young players to develop their games and get ready for the big leagues. (Not to mention a good way for the USA to actually develop some team skills so they can make a showing at future Ryder Cups!) And, as mini-tour players know, trying to make it to the bigs the "usual" way costs a lot of money and not everyone has the necessary trust funds or sponsorships.

So what do the fans have to do with it?

Well, it's like fantasy golf except your decisions actually show up in reality! Fans can decide on pairings and strategies for their teams, and those decisions are given to the "ProCoach" (you can be one!) who actually manages the team based on the collective ideas. (I think. Maybe everyone's a ProCoach.)

Tell me more

So, if you're a professional golfer and want to play on a team... OR
if you're a fan and you want to manage a team or be a ProCoach... OR
if you actually want to assemble a new team of real players... OR
you just want to know more about this potential new phenomenon,
check it out at www.ptgl.com.

Is this as big as it seems to me?

Next post.

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