I've been in the golf biz since 1998 and run over 1,000 golf tournaments and here's what I've learned after observing & talking with tens of thousands of golfers:
1 - Non-golfers are intimidated to try golf because they've heard it's hard, expensive and they don't want to embarrass themselves or "interfere" with good golfers. Not having clubs is a barrier to taking up the game as well.
2 - Many higher handicappers are intimidated to play with better golfers, worried they will embarrass themselves or slow up play.
3 - Most golfers would like to lower their scores but don't do lessons because they feel they are expensive, too time consuming or that they can "learn on their own".
4 - Many golfers love to play in fun, friendly competitive events with and against buddies for prizes but with the emphasis on fun and relaxed rules. Team formats (2-person, 3-person, 4-person) are much more enjoyable for the average (especially beginner) golfer.
5 - Golfers hate slow rounds (anything over 4.5 hours) and it will cause them to quit playing the game.
6 - Golfers love to do fun skills challenges.
7 - Golfers love it when they win stuff and you brag about them on the internet (pics with trophies, fun poses, etc.)
8 - People need to reduce stress in their lives and time on the golf course provides a "break" from that.
9 - People need to add more fun into their lives.
10 - These days people almost need an "excuse" to take time out of their busy lives to play golf. Getting invited to play in a fun event with a friend, family member or business associate is the perfect excuse to tee it up.
11 - You can be bad at golf and still have a great time if you are with friends and it's in a relaxed environment.
12 - A lot of people enjoy watching reality shows these days but there are very few golf reality shows...none that I am aware of that currently feature "average" golfers having fun.
13 - Golfers love to compete against golfers of the same skill level.
14 - There is NO fair handicapping system. If even 1 person has the "best round of their life" (which always happens), it ruins the event for everyone.
15 - Most women do not like to play or compete against men unless it's a fun format (eg. Scramble/ Couples) and environment. Women LOVE playing in events with other women.
16 - Juniors LOVE skills challenges and competing against their friends.
17 - More and more parents are playing (or would love to play) with their kids in events (eg. Father-Son, Family Scrambles, etc).
18 - Big Cup tournaments are popular with beginner & higher handicappers.
I've created and launched "Hack to Jack", a skills challenge and golf reality show that allows average (or beginner) golfers to apply to be on a reality show, do skills challenges, and if selected by the popular vote of their friends & family, advance to a final round where they work with a PGA Teaching Professional, chiropractor and personal trainer to see how much their game & fitness can improve over 12 weeks.
Along the way there will also be fun TEAM competitions (8 vs 8, each taught by 2 pros) to create rivalry between not only players but teaching pros and some fun twists of doing things on the golf course that people have never seen before on the course. Basically having a BLAST on the course with the focus being on fun vs. low scores.
Applicants must get votes to advance to Round 1 and Round 2 so it engages their community via social media. Mini-episodes will be released throughout the 12 week program and are 1-3 minutes long to appeal to people's attention span these days and released online via YouTube and Facebook.
Applicants that do not make cuts will also have access to special "Hack to Jack" 12-week programs designed by the participating Teaching Pros...offered at an affordable special package price just for show applicants.
On January 21, 2014, I launched www.HackToJack.com and www.facebook.com/HackToJack and invited LOCAL, AVERAGE golfers to apply to be on the Hack to Jack Golf Reality Show Episode 1 (Minnesota) and here were the first 2 weeks results:
1 – 400+ People applied online to be on the show within one week (and in the middle of winter in Minnesota!).
2 - www.HackToJack.com website received 20,466 views the first 2 weeks.
3 – The www.facebook.com/HackToJack Facebook page grew from zero to 734 Likes and 165,176 impressions in the first 2 weeks. One of the posts received 93 comments & reached 9,200 people.
4 – The YouTube Channel had 1,239 views the first 2 weeks (www.youtube.com/hacktojack).
5 - 7,274 online Votes were submitted for the 92 applicants that submitted a video application with one applicant receiving over 900 votes. View all videos at https://www.facebook.com/HackToJack/app_403834839671843
6 – The www.twitter.com/HackToJack Twitter page is already following 1,063 people and businesses, rapidly gaining followers and seeing high activity levels.
7 – We invited the 400 applicants to a Pre-Show Party and TaylorMade Demo Day on 2/8 and over 300 people showed up! It also attracted local media attention, and have received over 100+ Club Fittings requests from the applicants!
To view screengrabs of all the above stats and activities, visit http://www.HackToJackShow.com
Mr. King and TaylorMade, I agree with you 100% on this "Hack Golf" concept and THANK YOU for stepping up to the plate. My observation is that it allows beginners and high handicappers to let down their guard and it makes it OK to not be great when the emphasis is on FUN. As they get better, they'll get more hooked on the game and improve to "Jacks"... then you have a lifer who shares the game with their family and friends.
I would love to have the opportunity to take this concept and duplicate it in every major (and minor) city across America (and the world!)...we've starting testing the concept here in MN and the initial response has been amazing. From running tournaments in 42 cities for Golf Galaxy from 2004-2009, I have relationships with passionate people in those cities who could take this ball and SPRINT with it...I just need help with resources and marketing to make it happen.
Respectfully and enthusiastically,
Founder & Chief Golf Officer, TwinCitiesGolf.com
Creator & Producer, Hack to Jack
7/22/14 Update: Season 1 of the show just passed 2 MILLION online views!