The Czar has been a member of the Hamburg Men’s Golf Club, Western New York Public Links Golf Association and Buffalo District Golf Association for 25 years.  During this time I have witnessed a steady decline in membership for all three organizations and a precipitous drop of competitors in District wide tournament competition.  Twenty five years ago one had to sign up in April in order to secure a spot in many of the BDGA tournaments.  WNYPLGA team events drew multiple entries from many public clubs.

In recent years public clubs struggled to field even one team and some clubs have all but disappeared from competition. Last year the BDGA ran two Senior tournaments at private country clubs that included a delicious lunch and great prizes.  The entry fee for each tournament was less than a guest would pay for every day green fees at these clubs and yet we struggled to get 50 participants for each event.  For the life of me I can’t understand why.

I play golf because I love the game and strive constantly to improve.  I want to improve because I want to be competitive.  I love competing and I can compete with anybody because I have a USGA handicap.  Without competition, playing golf would be like hitting baseballs in a batting cage without ever playing a game.  Shooting hoops without playing a half court 3 on 3.  How many people would bowl if they weren’t competing in a league?

Full disclosure, The Czar serves on the Board of Directors for both the Hamburg Men’s Golf Club and the Buffalo District Golf Association.  My motive in writing this column is to awaken the completive spirit in as many golfers as I can who read this.  I want them to think about going beyond the weekend Nassau they play among friends and make a real commitment to competition in 2014.

If you play golf at least once a week, consider joining a club or league.  It doesn’t have to be a huge financial investment.  Most public clubs have membership fees that are less than what you would pay for a round of golf at a decent golf course.  If you are a member of a private or public club, consider broadening your competition schedule to include some WNYPLGA and BDGA tournaments.  Nothing satisfies the competitive juices more than winning a District wide competition or leading your club to a to a team victory.

If you don’t agree with me, leave some feedback and tell me your reasons.  Maybe there are steps we can take to improve our organizations and increase membership and participation.  But whether you agree or disagree, enjoy the 2014 golf season.  Mine starts February 1st in Florida and I can’t wait!

Brian Williams

golfczar AT