As far as first impressions go, James Sutherland eagled the opening hole. 

“I’m actually very familiar with your magazine… I love it!” he said, decked out in his golf attire after a morning round with son, Will, inside the “AFL bubble” on the Gold Coast, where he still sits on the board of the Geelong Football Club. “I’ve been reading Australian Golf Digest for a decade or so now. It’s become tradition for my mother-in-law to give me a subscription to the magazine as an annual birthday present or Father’s Day gift, I can never remember which [laughs].” 

Sutherland, 55, will have plenty of reading to do as he tries to make sense of golf’s future Down Under post-COVID, where the nation’s traditional summer of golf has been postponed until 2021. 

After a long and exhaustive search, the board of Golf Australia finally settled on the former Cricket Australia chief, who brings a wealth of experience – and a dash of controversy – to golf’s top job, vacated earlier this year by Stephen Pitt.

Sutherland, who officially took up his new post on October 1, resigned from Cricket Australia in 2018, just four months after the infamous “Sandpapergate” incident that rocked world sport. During the third Test of Australia’s tour of South Africa, Australian player Cameron Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper. Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were found to be in on the tactics and all three were consequently slapped with hefty sanctions from Sutherland and his team. Naturally, questions immediately turned to head coach Darren Lehmann, who would later resign, and Sutherland’s leadership. Some remain sceptical about Sutherland’s latest appointment.

“Amazing after what he did to cricket. What was the rationale for appointing him?” asked reader David Hewitt on our Facebook page, just one of the hundreds of comments seen across our social media channels.

The answer to that question may well lie in Sutherland’s achievements during 17 years in cricket’s top seat. During his tenure, cricket participation numbers in Australia grew from about 400,000 to 1.4 million, aggregate match attendances increased by 137 percent, while revenue soared from $50 million to a whopping $500 million. He also oversaw the introduction and spectacular rise of the Big Bash League and, more recently, the Women’s Big Bash League. Before his departure, Cricket Australia announced it had moved away from its long-standing relationship with Channel Nine, signing a six-year broadcast deal with the Seven Network and Fox Sports worth nearly $1.2 billion. And we mustn’t forget he was thrown into the hot seat at 35 years of age, younger than then-Australian Test captain Steve Waugh.  

It all makes good reading if you’re on the board of Golf Australia, who are still coming to terms with a $1.4 million loss last financial year.

An older and infinitely wiser Sutherland sat down with Australian Golf Digest in preparation for his toughest spell yet: transforming golf into the powerhouse spectacle and revenue-making machine he knows it can be. He faced up to all the questions you want answered: how he plans to boost revenue and participation, the keys to strengthening junior golf pathways, unifying our disjointed governing bodies, making golf a TV rights bidding war, and, of course, the elephant in the room – how Australian cricket’s ball-tampering fiasco made him a more rounded leader.

This is James Sutherland’s first interview in golf, conducted just days before he took to his new office. 

Australian Golf Digest: You’re new to the role but not new to golf, are you?

James Sutherland: No. Since probably my teenage years I’ve always played a little bit of golf. I grew up in and around Geelong and we used to holiday down the coast there and so I played a little bit in the summertime. Then, by the time I got to university, I started playing a little bit more seriously… on a more regular basis anyway, as it was always my second sport. When I was playing footy, it was my second sport in winter and second sport in summer behind cricket. Lots of cricketers love the sport of golf. I played a lot of club cricket, a bit of state cricket, and a lot of mates that I played cricket with I still play golf with today. My mates from Melbourne University, we go away a couple times a year together and stuff like that so, yeah, I love the game and find it a great way to stay connected with people and to meet new people as well.

What’s your handicap and where do you play?

I think I’m officially off 5.4 at the moment. I play at Royal Melbourne and I was lucky enough to become a member there when I started uni. I’ll be forever grateful to a couple of my mates’ dads who put me down [on the nomination list for membership]. And I’ve been enjoying my golf there ever since. I wouldn’t call myself a regular golfer, just because with work and my kids playing sport and all those sorts of things. My golf doesn’t quite get the priority that I’d like it to sometimes.

Royal Melbourne… not a bad club to be a member of. Describe what it’s like being a part of Australia’s No.1 golf course.

I think it’s a fantastic place now. I mean, I remember early on when I first became a member, it was actually quite an intimidating place to go to. I didn’t think it was a terribly welcoming place to go to. Maybe it was just me. But I think the club now just gets it right and is respectful of the heritage of the game and the club. And obviously being one of the great golf courses of the world, I don’t think we ever take that for granted, as members. It’s a privilege, always a privilege to play there. But it’s just got now… it’s got a great feel about it and it’s a very welcoming place – and I think this is part of the big picture of golf, continuing to be a relevant and contemporary sport in modern-day Australian society. Golf needs to move with the times and it needs to be welcoming. You can’t afford to be stuffy and you can’t make people uncomfortable when they come to your golf course. Sure, there are protocols and there are rules and what have you, but you can’t be too high-brow, otherwise people are not going to come. The name of the game is to get people to play the game, to enjoy the game and to feel welcome. It’s true for Burnley Golf Club in Richmond where I played a lot as a junior and it’s true at Royal Melbourne. Having that customer-service mentality and making sure that the golf environment is a friendly and welcoming environment is something that I believe is incredibly important.

Having worked in sport for a long time now, what’s been your view on golf and the way it operates in this country?

I guess a few observations… I think golf is somewhat challenged by the many different bodies that are present in the game that have administrative and other responsibilities. That’s not just true in Australia, I think it’s true all over the world. Look at America – you have the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the USGA… I mean, what’s all their roles away from the top level? Where does that all come together? And how does that all align in such a way that we’re making golf a sport that people want to play and we’re continually growing numbers? It’s similarly true here in Australia. We have a traditionally operated model under a federal system, which is a standard model for most sports in the country, certainly cricket. Golf’s moved down the line a bit. But I think it has probably set the pace when it comes to bringing states and territories together under the OneGolf model. And I think at times people can look from the outside and say, “Well, we haven’t got everyone together yet so it’s not right and it’s not a success.” But I think they’ve done an incredible job to bring golf together and to take the leadership position and the leap of faith to go down this path and get as far as they have. Obviously, there’s further to go for golf in Australia under the federal governance model to get to where it needs to be, but I think there are lots of opportunities for others to work together. When you think about it, more people playing golf and more people enjoying golf is in everyone’s interest, and so I think there has been some really good work that’s been done.

But coming back to your question, my observation from outside is there are a lot of bodies. People are trying to do more to get down that path where people can work together in partnership for the good of the game. And there are clearly challenges for golf to reach its potential, but I’m going into this role with my eyes wide open and encouraging the progress. I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking it further down the line.

What attracted you to this role after 20 years of running cricket in Australia?

I don’t mean it as a cliché to say it’s an honour to be doing a job like that, but it was a great honour to do the role I did in cricket for as long as I did. I feel similarly about this opportunity and the honour of being invited to do this role for Australian golf. It’s certainly not something I’ll take lightly. I understand the responsibility and know just how many people love the game of golf, love to play it, how important the fans are… Just as I did with cricket, I see the golfers, the members – the everyday golfers – are the people that truly own the game. Sure, the professional players and top amateurs are the people we put competitions on for and all of that sort of thing but, ultimately, what we try to do is generate revenue so that we can invest back into the game so that the sport grows. It’s as simple as that. I’ve always felt that the true judgement on whether an administrator is doing a good job or not at one particular time is only probably gauged 10 or 15 years down the track when the primary school kids, perhaps the early secondary school-age kids of today, are 15 years older and they’ve got their own independence as adults – are they still playing the game? Are they still a consumer in the sport that they were introduced to at that age? And if they’re not, then the sport and its administration has failed them and failed the game. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to generate interest. We’re trying to generate passion. And as we know, the game gives people different feelings and different joys, and everyone’s different. But whatever that might be, we’re trying to light a fire in the belly that allows people to love the game. And the beauty of golf is it’s a game… you can love cricket all your life, but not too many people play cricket all the way through to their senior years. Golf’s a game for life and that’s something truly special about it, I think. Just before this interview I played with my son. It’s a great joy to be able to do that. 

You mentioned golf’s a game for life. Do you think this could be a job for life?

[Laughs] No, I don’t think it’s a job for life, but time flies when you’re in the hot seat. I would never have dreamed of being at Cricket Australia for as long as I was. I mean, no one was more surprised than me when I was appointed into that role because I was quite young and I thought cricket was pretty conservative. I think I was only 34 when I got the job. If you told me I would be still doing it 17 years later, I would never have believed that. But that’s a long, long haul. And quite exhausting. I’ve had a couple of years out now and spent some time with the family. I’ve always tried to do lots of things with my kids and their sport. I wasn’t around a lot when I worked at Cricket Australia because I travelled a lot and worked hard, but it’s been nice the past couple of years to spend more time with them. One of the reasons why I felt I needed to vacate the cricket role was because my two eldest kids were professional cricketers making their way in the game and it was time for me to get out of their way and for there to not be any sort of perception about our relationship. But also, just for them to have their own career in the game. It’s good to be able to go to games now on the sidelines, watch them and support them. 

You left Cricket Australia in the aftermath of the infamous “Sandpapergate” saga in South Africa. How did that experience change you as a person and as a leader? 

You learn a lot from those sorts of situations and you certainly learn that it’s not always predictable how things unfold. What were the events that led to the incident, and the incident that caused the players to be suspended? They were to some extent consequences of marginal behaviour that led to, I guess, such unfortunate events. And then in some ways the world’s changed a bit over the past decade. I certainly saw that in my time in cricket where it was like everyone had a licence to be appalled about something at any one point in time and social media is a great vehicle for that. Clearly that [ball-tampering] incident was hugely disappointing for everyone involved in the game and everyone that loves the game. But the reaction was off the scale. I guess you can’t always predict that. But they’re just experiences that you work through. They’re experiences you can’t buy. Yeah, there’s scar tissue that you gather along the way from those sorts of issues. You’ve just got to keep fronting up when you’re a public spokesperson or you’re in the public office. Representing an organisation, you’ve got to work through the process step by step. Sometimes you don’t go as quickly as other people might like you to, but the process is really important in order to get the optimal result. Sometimes it’s not best-case scenario where you’re going to get to a happy ending, but you have just got to work through a process and get to a fair outcome.

Golf in this country is clearly at a critical point of change. Have you had a chance to think about your first six months in the job and what that might entail? 

Well, I think most people in Melbourne would say that my No.1 KPI is to get people in Melbourne back playing golf because, much to everyone’s chagrin, they haven’t been able to enjoy it like others around the country. So clearly there’s a gap there. And all of those courses in Melbourne are going to be in absolutely pristine condition. With spring weather, green grass growing and all of that, we’re ready to go. So that’s obviously something that we want to see soon enough, somewhat out of our control because we’re trying to get the COVID numbers down before any of that stuff happens. Look, I think there’s clearly some challenges relating to events. The Australian Open has already been postponed until early in the new year. There’s still a whole lot of uncertainty around how things shape up and they are things that are going to very quickly come onto my plate, I think. As issues work, we’re going to need to work through the social-distancing guidelines and everything else that is far from ideal, so it’s somewhat unusual circumstances we find ourselves in. But there are some great stories about national participation and the fact more golf is being played [during the pandemic]. I mean, even in Melbourne, I know for a period there when we were in stage three and we were able to play golf, you just couldn’t get on the timesheet anywhere. Lots of people perhaps will have come back to golf or been re-introduced to golf or even introduced for the first time. And I think it’s going to be really important for golf administrators and clubs to try to capture that. When you’re on a good thing and things are working for you, it’s not just accepting or being happy at how lucky we are. It’s also thinking about how to maintain that and what it is that has brought us to this. But then turn those positives into something that lasts for a long, long time.

You’ve said previously that the most important thing in a sports administrator’s role is to inspire the next generation. A brand you were heavily involved with, Cricket Australia’s Milo Cricket junior program – now the Woolworths Cricket Blast program – has been a national success for more than 25 years. Do you have similar ambitions for Golf Australia’s MyGolf program? 

All sports effectively compete for people’s leisure time. They compete for people’s attention and kids’ attention and engagement. Really, there are only three sports in Australia I see that are fortunate enough to be funded from the top down, as in, they get money coming in from the top through media rights and related sponsorship. Cricket is one of those and that’s why an entry-level program is so affordable and so accessible and provides kids with great opportunities. Golf is not one of those sports that is funded in that same way. And that’s a challenge. I want to understand what it is, the administration of golf, but also what clubs can do and how they can do more. What I said was absolutely true – it’s what I believe about inspiring the next generation. It’s our responsibility as an administrator. But I think if clubs actually think a little bit more deeply about their role, they can understand it’s a part of their role as well. And I know that’s hard and that’s difficult because as a member club, you tend to think about servicing your members. But I think that if you don’t inspire the next generation then you’re not guaranteed to have members in the future. So what is it that you can do as a club? I don’t know the answers to this yet. You’ll appreciate that I’m just throwing stuff out there [until I start the role]. I just believe that clubs need to do more than just service their members. They need to think about how they service, engage and excite the next generation of members. I’m not picking on clubs here, I’m talking about professional coaches, professionals in pro shops… I’m talking about the PGA, I’m talking about Golf Australia’s state associations. We all need to think about what we are doing to excite the next generation of golfers and how do we make golf friendly, welcoming, accessible and affordable because you actually have to accept that as part of business. You actually have to do the analysis on who your competitors are. Who are we competing with? How accessible are we (in comparison to other sports)? And what have we got to offer that’s different? And golf’s different. As we talked about, it’s a sport for life. I’ve always believed that the best time in your life to light the fire is when kids are young and impressionable. And that primary-school age and early secondary-school age is a really important age for people to at least be touched by golf, to have that experience. As we know, golf’s a really hard game to play… a frustrating game to play. But for those that come into the game in their 30s having never ever played the game before, it’s doubly, triply harder. I’ve always believed somehow inspiring the next generation is about people relating to the game. And in a golf sense, it doesn’t have to be playing 18 holes of golf. That’s not even necessarily inspiring. Just playing mini-golf is inspiring the next generation. And embracing that or opportunities to have free lessons or going to a range and just whacking the ball as far as you can. Whatever it might be, it’s all golf and it’s all an opportunity for people to have fun, enjoy it and hopefully keep stoking the fire that allows, when the time is right, people to come and play golf. Some people, they’ll be kids and they’ll play forever – throughout their life golf will be their No.1 sport. But the reality is for most young people, golf is not going to be their No.1 sport when they’re under 30. They’ll play other sports. But golf can be everyone’s second sport. And, as we know, not many people are playing competitive sport once they get to 30 and golf can be the sport that endures. So that’s sort of how I see it. Whether any of that works practically remains to be seen. But I really do want to understand more deeply the way clubs look at servicing young people in particular. 

Female participation in cricket also soared under your watch. What’s the secret to unlocking the potential for women’s golf?

I think golf’s not a sport that people naturally think about as a sport for women or girls to play. But the same can be said of cricket. And I never really thought about this deeply until I had a daughter that played cricket. And as we know, 80 per cent – or close to – of club members, let’s call them golfers in Australia, are male. But if we love golf, it’s actually our responsibility to help golf to be a sport for all. And if 50 percent of those 80 percent have daughters, then I’d be asking them: does their daughter play golf? And have you introduced your daughter to golf? Because if you haven’t, why haven’t you? Because you need to understand the joy of playing a sport you love with a person you love, whether it’s your son or your daughter. The natural inclination is to take your son along perhaps, but what about your daughter? And I think that’s part of this 15-year investment stuff that I talk about. It’s inspiring the next generation and understanding the joy of spending time with your daughter and playing the sport that you love is something really special. I’ve had that experience with cricket and I’m experiencing it now with our daughter and my wife that plays as well. It’s actually a mindset… it’s a male mindset thing. And what happened with cricket over the course of the past 10 years is there’s been a gradual mindset shift from the people that control the game. And like it or not, most of the people who have control and significant influence over the game of golf in Australia are males. And if they don’t have that mindset to welcome women to the game and encourage them and to say, “Well, I love golf and I want my kids to play golf whether they’re a boy or a girl,” then the game ain’t changing and it’s not going to grow at that rate that people have that aspiration. Cricket, I feel, is doing a fantastic job. Soccer’s doing a good job in that regard as well. But again, golf is different, because the opportunity’s there to engage kids. But it’s also a sport that men and women can play forever, play together or play with their mates or whatever. And that’s a pretty special thing. But if you don’t get invited to play or you don’t get the opportunity to play and learn the game early, then it’s a lot harder. And most likely you’ve missed them. If you haven’t got them by their teenage years, one way or another, it’s pretty hard to get them.

Let’s shift to tournament golf. It seems hard for a major company or sponsor to come in and “own” golf like other sports. It seems they need to have a conversation with Golf Australia, another one with the PGA of Australia, then there’s Golf NSW and Golf WA… How important is unification of the governing bodies moving forward?

I won’t pretend to understand the different roles and precincts in which different entities operate or control or even the tournaments and all that. I’m just not across that yet to fully understand it. But if I take it a step back and go a little bit higher, my view is that for a sport to achieve its potential, or even come close to that, it needs to align. But not only align, it needs to find a way to aggregate and bring together its most valuable assets. And there are lots of examples with cricket that we were able to do over time where commercial assets and other things were separated, fragmented into states and into different parts of the game. And just applying that principle of bring together the calendar, bring together events, bring together sponsorship and commercial assets, and thinking that whatever we’re doing together is good for the game of golf. But also that mixing all of these together and making a bigger part will allow everyone to be better off. Two plus two equals five, or whatever it might be – there have to be opportunities from that. I just can’t see that. Now I’m not saying for one moment that it’s easy. Better people than me will have tried these sorts of things, but it’s beholden on those with responsibility in the various entities to try to work through the possibilities to talk about potential, to talk about how we can all be better off and how we’ll be aligned and do what we need to do for the good of the game. It shouldn’t be about us. And it shouldn’t be about one body or another running or ruling the game. Golf is not a wealthy sport. It doesn’t have the riches that really the three big sports have and the revenue that comes in through the top. It’s so unfortunate like that. It cannot afford to have wastage. And it can’t afford not to be effectively leveraging its assets in an aligned and aggregated fashion. So what are the answers to that? I’m not sure. But I’ll be working very hard to talk to all of the relevant parties to find a way to align and get some better results, commercially, so that we can invest more money into the game and allow it to grow.

One of the great successes in cricket has been its TV product, particularly the introduction of the Big Bash Twenty20 competition. What are your thoughts on golf as a TV product?
What can we do better?

One of the things about the Big Bash was that it was specifically designed for a new audience. Cricket actually felt that it had an identity crisis. Big Bash was a result of cricket coming to a conclusion that it was not inspiring the next generation of player or fan and we thought that other sports were passing us by. The Big Bash was designed to bring new people to the game. It was designed to inspire kids, families and females to have an experience with cricket that they’d never had before. And have fun, to enjoy it and, ideally, graduate their interest into the more traditional formats of the game. That went hand-in-hand with television. It also went hand-in-hand with the nationalisation of the entry program and a few other things. It was very strategic and very focused, and I think with golf, again, obviously there are traditional events that are not to be touched, just like The Ashes and five-day Tests in cricket. But there has to be other opportunities that can get people to watch golf. I mean, just throwing it out there, but why is it that golf events have to be played over four days? Why is it that golf events have to be played in the daytime? Why is it that they have to be played over 18 holes? Maybe you can play a golf event over a lesser period of time, over fewer holes and you light up four holes or six holes so you can show it in the evening during prime-time television hours when three, four, five times as many people are watching. There are lots and lots of reasons why not, which is all fine, but the point is, if you don’t shift your content to a timeslot where people are actually available to watch, well, you’re never going to get the audience, irrespective of it being enticing or exciting or what have you. And I totally understand the conservative nature of people and people not liking change. In cricket we seemed to have plenty of people that didn’t like it or didn’t want T20 cricket to become a thing. But you have to remind yourself and be clear around your strategy and why you do these things. You don’t just do it because, “Oh, let’s experiment and play something at night.” You need to have real purpose to it and real strategic intent. I’m not saying you just sample things and dive in and do it. We need to think about what’s good for the game of golf and what opportunities there might be. Getting the right talent to be able to play to attract audiences and get events on TV is a big challenge we will continue to face. I mean, again to that example, golf in Australia does not have the luxury of being able to receive rights fees, huge rights fees for putting events on TV. Quite the opposite – we’re actually paying money or have been paying money. And that’s a sign of lots of things. But coming back to your question, the product is the product because there are lots of traditional things about it. We need to continue to explore ways in which we can bring more people to the game of golf, as players and as fans, and that probably means looking at ways to have content, to bring content to TV if we can get it on, people want to show it… content that’s exciting and interesting and different.

Welcome to golf, a sport where we love to break par but we hate breaking tradition, right?

[Laughs] That’s not a bad one. Let’s work on changing that.

On a serious note, though: are you going to be that guy who comes in and breaks with tradition and shakes things up bit?

I know that I’ve been in public office governing as a CEO of a major sport that has huge public interest. Having done a role like that before, you understand that decisions you make are not always going to be popular and will always come under criticism. Even if they might be popular, they’ll still come under criticism… it goes with the territory. But what I am committed to in this role is to work through with the relevant bodies, key stakeholders, commercial partners in the game and all of the golf bodies on developing a strategy that allows the game of golf to grow and achieve its true potential. And to achieve its true potential, you can’t keep doing what you can’t be doing. We’ve talked about the great stories at the moment about more people playing golf – that’s exciting. But is anyone saying that golf in Australia is riding an all-time high? It’s not. We know that. Is golf fighting for relevance in modern-day Australian society? Absolutely it is. And so too are lots of other sports. So too is rugby. Football, or soccer to some, boasts huge numbers of young people playing the game, but it’s really struggling as a fan activity. It’s like they’re interested in the overseas leagues but not so much in [Australia’s] A-League. Golf faces really significant challenges and you have to face that reality. You have to look into the mirror and ask yourself, “Are we, as a sport, achieving what we could?” And if we’re not, what’s it going to take within the constraints of budget and other things? And that’s part of the challenge that I see. Because, again, we’re not a wealthy sport. Some people at times might try to put us in the same basket as some of the big sports because they see the lucrative PGA Tour and the amount of prizemoney they play for and the fact it’s on TV every week, but the reality is it’s not like that for golf in Australia, and that’s what we’ve got to work together on. All of the bodies need to work together better. We need to create efficiencies, we need to align, we need to have, ideally, one strategy where we’re all working in that same direction and aggregating our assets so that we can leverage them to get the best possible outcomes. We need to do things that maybe rattle the cage a little bit, and learn from mistakes because you don’t get better by not making mistakes.

One guy who’s definitely not afraid to rattle the cage at the moment is Bryson DeChambeau. What are your thoughts on what he’s doing and are you looking forward to the whole distance-debate conversation you’ll inevitably be locked in to with R&A and USGA officials?

Well, I think what he’s doing is incredibly exciting for the game… just whacking it as far as you can. He’s just playing by the rules. He’s put on some weight, he’s stronger, he’s swinging it harder and faster and he’s just taking it on. You’ve got to admire that. I don’t know if everyone admires his pace of play, but they admire the way that he’s just taking the game on and he’s enjoyed some success. What will always happen, and it’s happened in football and cricket, is people will play within the rules but they will always try to push the boundaries as far as they can. I think it’s a different conversation about the ball and the clubs – hitting the ball longer and further. I mean, I just don’t think that’s a sustainable proposition for the game. I don’t know or understand it deeply enough, but I don’t see why the pros and others can’t play with a different ball or whatever. Because you can’t just make golf courses bigger and longer to satisfy the pros. Ultimately, the game of golf should be for the everyday player and designing golf courses specifically for pros, just so you can keep them on the property, is just not economic. It just doesn’t make sense.

In 15 years’ time, when the kids have grown up and when we can judge how successful you and your administration has been, where do you hope the sport of golf is in Australia?

Well, I just want to see more people playing the game. I want it to be a sport for everyone. And I want it to be a wealthier sport… a sport that’s generating more from its assets. Ideally, I’d like to see a real golf season, a period in the calendar when everyone knows and looks forward to watching and playing golf. I don’t want to draw too many parallels, but we all know that January is sort of tennis season in Australia, when the sport really comes to life. I think golf can benefit from that. I understand there’s lot of reasons why not, but there’s a period of the year when golf is accessible through various media platforms and it’s a time when we have great players playing in Australia for great tournaments. But, ultimately, in 15 years’ time it’s about it being a generation of kids that are welcomed into clubs. They’ve got access to golf through schools and they’re learning the game and having experiences in numbers that we’ve never seen before. I’m not sure how that happens. If that’s happening 15 years from now, we know the game is in great shape because that next generation is coming through. There’s a rite of passage around golf but if you’ve got the numbers coming through…There are a lot of clubs out there that haven’t got the numbers coming through. In fact, their average age is going up each year. We want to see that average age actually coming down and having a pipeline of young people that want to play the game is, I think, in itself a good indicator. And finally, obviously within all of that, I want to see a very different percentage of women and girls playing the game to what there is today.

Well, we’d better let you get to work!