Growing the game of golf difficult in ex-Soviet Bloc
Released on = August 9, 2007, 12:03 pm
Press Release Author = GolfPublisher Syndications
Industry = Media
Press Release Summary = If you\'re lucky to come from a golf-rich country like the U.S., Britain or Ireland, it can be hard to imagine places - especially in developed Europe - where golf really struggles to catch on.
Press Release Body = By Jeffrey White, Golf Publisher Syndications
SEMLIN AM SEE, Germany - If you\'re lucky to come from a golf-rich country like the U.S., Britain or Ireland, it can be hard to imagine places - especially in developed Europe - where golf really struggles to catch on.
Welcome to eastern Germany. And welcome to Simon Dicksee\'s challenge.
Dicksee is an Englishman, an old R&A hand who has spent a good portion of his professional life traveling the globe and putting R&A money towards growing the game in places like Iran.
Now on his own and away from the R&A, Dicksee has settled down as the head pro at Golf Resort Semlin, about an hour\'s drive outside Berlin - and he wants to get more Germans to embrace the game.
But this is easier said than done.
\"This is still a new sport here in many ways,\" he says. \"Mostly it\'s the German nouveau rich that are taking up the game. It\'s still not seen as a game for the general public.\"
Semlin, an attractive, small resort, is right in the heart of what used to be acres of Soviet collective farmland in the German Democratic Republic (DDR). East Germany was firmly in the Soviet Bloc and thus those who grew up here were taught to be scornful of the trappings of bourgeois life.
Team sports were the thing during communist times - by this, we\'re talking team sports that extolled the supremacy of socialism - and individual sports like golf and tennis were labeled too elitist, the playgrounds of the rich and decadent.
Therefore, what we\'re living through now is a time when really the first generation of central and eastern Europeans is discovering golf. In the 17 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, golf courses have sprung up in places like Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and eastern Germany.
This does not attract the attention of us in the U.S. (and really, why should it?). Yet it\'s interesting to watch a sport\'s birth among a people, many of who probably still have parents and grandparents questioning their enthusiasm for such a \"western\" game like golf.
One of the LPGA Tour\'s up-and-commers is named Jana Peterkova. She hasn\'t done too much to date, but this Czech golfer knows what the game she\'s come to master represents to her family, who defected to Australia prior to the 1989 Velvet Revolution in then-Czechoslovakia.
\"My dad forced me to play [golf] as a way of rebelling against the communist regime,\" Peterkova told WorldGolf\'com\'s Brandon Tucker at this year\'s U.S. Women\'s Open.
For more details visit - : http://www.worldgolf.com/column/golf-in-central-and-eastern-europe-growing-slowly-5805.htm
August 3, 2007 Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.