• John Cockayne

A letter from the editor

BGM Issue 1 Vol 2: Editor’s Letter



This first issue of BGM’s second year contains a mixed bag of content, encompassing the run in to World Environment Day, and in this issue’s ‘From the Fringes’ section, the John Collier Survey announces the top performing clubs in each of SA’s 14 golf unions.


The 'Careers' Discussion continues with an insightful contribution (as always) from the peripatetic professor, Cynthia Johnson, who we find making her contribution, while on a teaching ‘gig’ in Italy’s Florence - the lucky devil!

We are evolving as a species (I think!), but is this evolution true of the game of golf, and what golf clubs offer to their guests and members?

Golf is largely afraid of change (a human condition) and risk averse, and while prudence in business can be a virtue, we need to change, if our view of our traditions and history, is going to obstruct our vision and impair our ability to embrace the future.


The reactions to Greg Norman’s LIV Tour, are the focus of CAT’s musings, in 'A Cat Amongst the Pigeons' in this issue, and neatly encapsulate golf’s dilemma in terms of managing tradition and history, in combination with the need for change.

In any other sector, Greg Norman would be seen ‘merely’ as a business disruptor, but is painted as a traitor and as being ‘selfish’ in golf terms.

And yet there is an irony (isn’t there always!), in that he is being portrayed like this, by sectors in professional golf, who are determined to protect their own vested, and ‘selfish’ interests and ‘turf’ at any cost.


The fall out is being felt already, with talk of banning players, and the most noticeable casualty, to date, has been Phil Mickelson.

I cannot recall (perhaps a reader knows?) any other instance (outside of Wars and disasters) in which a player defending a golf Major has withdrawn from the tournament voluntarily, and when in perfect physical health!


I have just had two very eclectic discussions concerning golf, across a range of areas about the game in Saudi Arabia.


My interest was underpinned by a very simple question - why are we only hearing, in the main, negative comment about Saudi Arabia in a golf context?


I am a pragmatist in real terms, and I do not believe that anything is ever completely black or completely white.


Without doubt and broadly speaking, Saudi Arabia does have some ‘serious brand’ issues (there are few countries that don’t - for example SA’s current ‘neutral’ stance re Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been roundly criticised!), particularly around its involvements with the Yemen, Jamal Khashoggi, human rights, etc. and to one of which topics, Greg Norman recently got needled into providing a very inappropriate response!


The truth is that as a species we tend to try to deal in absolutes, which are not the reality of everyday life.


In addition, the sad fact is, that the good news about a range of activities, which have been initiated in Saudi Arabia, from golf development, to making sustainability a seamless part of the game, in what might be termed a golfing revolution, is being lost.


In a related context, we also introduce a new discussions series on the need (or not!) for golf clubs to change, and the discussion will look at understanding what members and visitors actually want at a 21st Century golf club, and how best to satisfy these changing expectations.


Whatever the outcomes might be, there are winds of change blowing through golf in general.

Whether all of these developments in pro tour terms prove to be benign zephyr, or something that blows golf’s professional house down, as we know it, remains to be seen.


The post-covid period, has seen a number of changes in the tourism industry.


Sadly, there has been a largely negative ‘flavour’ in much of this, it has to be said, with the body-count of businesses, which failed to make it through, being one of the more distressing statistics, so any good news is most welcome, and one of these items, is that there is a new sun rising on the travel horizon - Southern Sun.


This is of course a re-branding exercise for the Tsogo Sun group, and our team wish a BGM Founder Partner, fair winds and Covid-free seas, as the brand sets sail on the next part of its journey.



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