Long outspoken in his advocacy of alternatives to attract more people to golf – such as 15-inch cups – TaylorMade Golf CEO Mark King put his company’s money where his mouth is Tuesday evening when he announced TaylorMade’s $5 million backing of Hack Golf, which bills itself as “a pioneering initiative aimed at making golf more fun for everyone.”
The announcement came at a symposium on the eve of the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., which included King, PGA of America President Ted Bishop, National Golf Foundation CEO Joe Beditz and business adviser Gary Hamel.
Taking a crowdsourcing approach to growing the game, Hack Golf is seeking ideas from anyone with an interest in golf, from players to industry leaders, on how to reinvigorate the golf experience and increase the game’s fun factor, according to its website hackgolf.org. To “hack,” the site explains, is “to improvise something new and highly effective” – and not to play bad golf, as I wrongly assumed when I first heard about the initiative.
Hosted by TaylorMade and backed by the PGA of America and NGF, Hack Golf will aim to generate many “hacks” for golf – radical yet practical ideas to increase the game’s fun quotient. And as the site goes on to explain, “Hack Golf isn’t a mere brainstorming exercise. We expect that a number of the most promising hacks will receive financial and other types of support so that they can be prototyped and experimented with in the real world.”
It all sounds intriguing, and with support from two of golf’s foremost mavericks in King and Bishop, the effort is sure to draw attention. But whether “crowdsourcing” can transform a game known for its hidebound traditions remains an open question.