Confessions of An Interloper


I’ve been playing golf for 40+ years, but have only been working in the industry for a handful of years so I’m still working on establishing my street cred in the industry.

Awhile back, I was talking to the director of one of the regional golf course owners’ associations (NOT in my home territory of the Upper Midwest). I was trying to score an invitation to a panel discussion that this gentleman was organizing. He was unfamiliar with GroupLooper, so I was giving him some background and I emphasized that our mantra was to help people play more golf by removing some of the barriers that prevent people from getting to the course.

His response was something along the lines of “there sure are a lot of interlopers like you wanting to get involved in golf these days”.

Having never been called an interloper before and not 100% certain that I fully understood the meaning of the word, I looked up the definition and found:



a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

synonyms: intruder, encroacher, trespasser, invader, infiltrator  

Needless to say, I didn’t receive an invitation to participate in the panel discussion.

Basically, this guy whose job it is to promote the game of golf on behalf of course owners was telling someone who is investing hard-earned money and beaucoup time and energy trying to grow the game that I am “not wanted” and “don’t belong”.

Wow… with ambassadors like that is it any wonder that the golf industry has become a shrinking ship? We’re now 15 years into a period of a steady decline in the number of rounds being played in the US.

To be fair, many people I’ve met in the golf industry have been welcoming. But there is a strong undercurrent of resistance in the industry to new entrants and particularly to new ideas. Having spent time working with clients in health care, financial services, airlines and telecommunications I can tell you that insiders in every industry can be aloof to new entrants but the golf industry seems especially leery of new blood and unusually protective of “their” turf (it actually is turf in this case)

This aversion to new ideas is dangerous… perhaps Frank Zappa said it best:

Of course, even if you do have an open mind, you still have to pick and choose whom to engage with on new ideas. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should continue to check out these GROW.THE.GAME blog posts.

  • I’ll throw you a pop culture bone every week… Steve Jobs, Frank Zappa, Eric Burdon & The Animals, et al… both to entertain and to make the ideas stick.
  • I do my homework… do you know anyone else who has visited the website of every golf course in the world (all 35k+ of them)? I have an OCD problem.
  • I talk to 40+ golf industry operators from all over each week. The ideas represented here are the best nuggets gleaned from all those discussions.
  • I’ve been a private club member for half my life and a public course golfer for half my life… these separate worlds can learn from one another.
  • I’m a frequent golfer… I organize tee times every week… I experience what Joe Golfer experiences… and I’m here to tell you it’s not all seashells and balloons.
  • I don’t have to spend any time mowing greens, stocking a pro shop, etc. so I can spend all my time focusing on what it’ll take to help people play more golf.
  • Our blog format allows readers to share their opinions… we welcome comments on any and all of my blog posts. You can even post anonymously if you want.
  • Our readership includes an eclectic mix of course owners, course managers, golf industry consultants, golf technology suppliers and just plain old golfers.
  • Where else can you read about the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Heavenly Virtues of Golf Course Operators?
  • I’m totally obsessed with the challenge of growing the game of golf. We have the greatest game in the world and yet it has been slowly shrinking in popularity. None of us can turn this thing around on our own… let’s work together on our mutual ‘opportunity’… because you can’t stop me, you can only hope to contain me.

Stay tuned for more posts… and feel free to pitch in with some feedback.






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