PGA of Slovenia President and Member Professional, Jure Čoh, gives his thoughts on the current state of play of golf in Slovenia following the recent success of PGA of Slovenia Member & Ambassador and Ladies European Tour Member, Pia Babnik…
The recent positive and extensive responses in our media, about the fantastic success of our Member, Pia Babnik, encouraged me to write the following thoughts…
I sincerely hope the fantastic success of Pia Babnik at the LPGA’s Chevron Championship was a kind of milestone in Slovenian golf. It is time for golf to be viewed more positively in our homeland and for some to finally stop doing injustice to it, by attributing some negative (and unfounded) adjectives.
Golf is (unfortunately still) assessed in our space through money-related stereotypes. But let’s be honest, today almost every leisure activity requires certain resources, especially sports. We are not here to argue about which sport is more expensive or cheaper, because it depends mainly on the level at which we take part.
It is interesting, however, that no one seems to have a problem when people buy bicycles for 10,000 euros (and there are many of them in Slovenia). Moreover, such equipment even adds “value”, prestige and credibility to the individual… On the other hand, any individual’s involvement in golf, where monetary costs are often low, is condemned by elitism or snobbery and the like. Of course, we can find extremes in both directions in both sports, but these are, for the point of this debate, completely unnecessary. I do not want to present cycling (or any other sport) in the wrong light, I just want to emphasise that we should be objective and not approach golf with inappropriate and untrue prejudices.
Along with tennis, golf has to be the most widespread and popular individual sport in the world. It is played by about 60 million people. I hope Pia’s successes inspire young and old to start playing golf. If we take cyclists for our own, ski jumpers for our own, skiers for our own, basketball player, [Luka] Dončić, for our own, then depending on our success, golf can also become a part of Slovenian culture and pride. Given that Slovenia presents itself in the world as a green, boutique and active destination, golf can be ideally placed in this strategy.
Golf and related values are something we especially need in today’s world. Practicing and learning golf is one of the better “investments” parents can make for themselves and their children. You can play golf for life, it is suitable for all ages, move in nature, meet new people, take care of your health, develop concentration and focus, and is very suitable as a family activity… In addition to motor skills, we instil other important cultural and social values; honesty, integrity, respect for rules, consideration for others, patience, companionship, work habits, etiquette, responsibility, self-discipline, dignity, fair play and many more.
I always get horrified when I hear that golf and everything related to it is “elite”. By no means do I want to live in an environment where golf ideals and values are just a matter of the elite, but something that will be part of our daily lives, especially in relationships with other people. I am convinced that by increasing the involvement of people in golf, we can also make society and relationships more enjoyable.
The Association of Professional Golf Teachers and Players of Slovenia – PGA of Slovenia – will continue to advocate for the promotion and proper development of golf. We will strive to present golf to new players in a pleasant, relevant and professional way, and we will continue to educate and raise awareness of existing players in accordance with golf’s ideals, values and traditions.
See you on the greens – Jure Čoh