In this week's Player Blog Chilean Felipe Aguilar discusses the European Tour's new formats and innovations, and gives us his thoughts on how he'd make golf more appealing...
I think you can have as many different types of golf events as you want, as long as it fits players' schedules. I think the GolfSixes for example was a good event as it brings more people into the game, and it's good with the players after the round spending more time talking to the public and the fans, which brings people closer to the game.
I love the idea of three day events and think that we could have a couple of Match Play events a year. We've had the Paul Lawrie Matchplay, and then this season we’ve had this new format of knockout golf with the Belgian Knockout. I would like to see more sometimes, and more three-day events, like they do in tennis with five set and three set matches. More three-day events would be more fun, and we could maybe play two Pro-Ams to try and bring more sponsorship to the tournaments. But three-day events would be cool.
The time limit at the Shot Clock Masters this week is 40 seconds, which I think is a long time to hit the ball. The moment when the clock starts, I heard today that the referee is going to tell you: "Your time starts now."
I tried on 18 with a referee timing me and it took me between 12 and 17 seconds every time I play, so it's enough time and sometimes people take far too much before they actually hit the shot. So we must be ready to hit when the time comes, and we shouldn't have an issue with that.
We play a lot of golf on the European Tour and I think the pace of play is very good compared to the States for example. We play quicker here. Golf at the moment is becoming a very long game. The first two days, or the first day in particular, is rarely particularly exciting, and that's why I think there's space for three day events so it's going to be exciting from the very beginning. Golf has been taking too long for quite some time now, so whoever plays golf knows it's going to take four and a half hours to play a round. I would really like to modernise the game with three day events.
I have two academies back at home and the question we always ask ourselves is how can we bring more kids to the game? Every time I meet with teachers and the clubs and schools that’s what we discuss and look at as we need to bring more people to the game. If you have a kid and you put out golf, tennis and football equipment - golf will definitely be the last option in most cases. Kids like to play more football and tennis more often than not, unless their parents play golf, which is often the main way kids get into the game.
Golf really can be a very fun game for kids, but we need to give the kids more motivation to pick up a club, and maybe the way we work with the kids needs to change so we also incorporate more exercising, rather than just hitting 80 balls. It has to be made more fun for them. Sometimes just hitting 80 balls at the range isn’t fun.
I wouldn’t blame golf sometimes not coming across as fun on the TV broadcast, because they make it as fun as possible with the shot tracer and all those things. Personally I like to watch clip on Instagram and Twitter, and other short versions that have things like two minute highlights clips. I don’t think the way it’s shown is the problem, even though I don't like watching golf on TV. I like to play it, but I don't like to watch it which is just a personal thing to me. I don’t actually watch any golf on television, because it makes me fall asleep.
Rather than sitting at home and watching TV I quite like to ride my bike and go running with my wife and my younger daughter as they're both triathletes. So I spend a lot of time out on the bike and just following behind my family. They do all sorts of different distances. My wife runs full distances, and my daughter is only 13 so she runs shorter distances, but she's very good.
Un orgullo/ Felipe Aguilar acompañando a su hija Victoria Aguilar, campeona del Kids Challenge Pucón 2018 en la categoría 14-15 años. Padre e hija excelentes representantes del deporte 🇨🇱! #triatlon #Pucon pic.twitter.com/tiTvAOhHEM— ChileCompite 🥇🥈🥉 (@INDChileOficial) January 11, 2018
Maybe I’d also like to see more team golf. Golf is a very individual game and we start playing as an individual from when we are very little, unless we play in European Cups or South American Cups or when you represent your country. For a World Cup, this is more individual than as a team because we used to play the foursomes. It's fun to watch guys trying to play together and it's fun to see how people pair up. You might think "I didn't know these guys were friends," or "how would you get these two guys together?" Especially during the Ryder Cup it’s fun to watch.