As a year goes, 2019 was pretty spectacular for golf. Tiger triumphs, magical McIlroy and sweet Solheim success all painted a memorable year that will stick in our memory banks for many years to come.
As we begin the new decade and a new year, it seems pretty difficult to argue how the new year can possibly better the last. However, here are three reasons why 2020 will be Golf’s best year yet.
1 – THE 2020 RYDER CUP
2020 marks another Ryder Cup year, as the biennial matches head over to Whistling Straits, north of Chicago for what is no doubt set to be another stellar week for the biggest golf event in the world.
What sticks out for me away from the keenly contested rivalry between the Europeans and the Americans is the stage itself – the golf course. Whistling Straits has huge towering dunes, great big green complexes and a closing stretch of holes that will excite and stir drama left right and centre. Remind you of something? It’s almost a parallel to the 2018 venue, Le Golf National.
I feel a precedent has been set with the style and nature of courses that are selected for the Ryder Cup, that can never be erased. I attended the Ryder Cup for the first time last year, and having experienced a truly unforgettable week, the biggest memory I took away from Paris wasn’t the support, nor Molinari’s winning match, not even that monster putt drained by Noren on the 18th! For me, it was how easy and incredible the spectator experience was made by the golf course and its setup.
I was as excited as the next person when I took the journey to Paris, but I doubted as to how much golf I would actually get to see. For so many previous Ryder Cups, crowds piled in but it seemed only the lucky few would find themselves at the front of the ropes; you almost had more chance of winning the lottery! This was far from the case in 2018 and it is definitely a trend that the 2020 matches will be certain to repeat once again.
2 – THE WORLD HANDICAPPING SYSTEM
2020 also welcomes the first introduction and implementation of The R&A’s ‘World Handicapping System’, aimed at providing a unique, level playing field across the world with a standardised handicapping method.
The R&A’s Assistant Director – Handicapping, Kevin Weir, attended our recent Annual Congress at Penina Hotel & Golf Resort, giving insight to all delegates on the ins and outs of how the new system will work, when it will be implemented across which locations, and how it will impact the game on various fronts.
The 2020 CPG Tournament schedule is already underway with this year’s 7th AESGC International Pro-Am and 2020 Abu Dhabi Pro-Am, and so it has been a radical change that has impacted the CPG quite immediately. However, thanks to our Corporate Partner, GolfBox, [who have been heavily involved with the system and have already implemented into their tournament software], this has been so simple and easy to adhere to.
3 – BREAKING THE BOUNDARIES IN NEW MARKETS
A big trend I think you will also see this year is the breaking and entering of new markets previously untouched [or virtually untouched] by various organisations and bodies within golf.
The Middle East is a real high-growth region for golf and has been for decades, with the European Tour making their presence felt through the Dubai Desert Classic, Abu Dhabi Championship and World Tour Championship being staged in the United Arab Emirates [UAE].
However, other countries outside the UAE are having to play catch up – no doubt because of the lack of facilities available to host such tournaments – but the newly announced Ladies European Tour [LET] event in Saudi Arabia is a welcome sight to get things rolling.
Here at the CPG, this is a trend we are very keen to remain at the forefront of. We have already announced a new tournament to our 2020 CPG Tournament schedule in the 2020 Marriott Marquis Qatar Pro-Am, and we are currently engaging in various golf development and education initiatives with the Jordanian Golf Federation on behalf of The R&A.
This is just the Middle East remember. Vietnam, Korea, Northern areas of Africa and lesser-known regions in South America such as Chile, Columbia and Ecuador are all relatively immature markets but possess oodles of potential. Golf cannot ignore them forever and I think 2020 will be the year they start to stake a claim in the golfing world…
Watch this space, the year is set to be a big one.