The other night, my wife and I were flipping through the channels and stumbled upon the movie “Caddyshack.” Though we’ve seen it a million times, we just thought it’d be fun to watch one scene and then move on. Well, one scene turned into the rest of the movie – every scene is hilarious – we couldn’t change the channel.
“Caddyshack” came out in 1980. Tennis was in full swing – the baby-boomers had adopted tennis as their game in the mid-70’s and courts had opened everywhere. But golf was sneaking into the picture. Tennis is a difficult game. Not only to play well – but just to play. Most people never get good enough to consistently get the ball back over the net.
That played right into golf’s hand. With golf, you can play the game with miss-hit shots … the ball at least advances. Miss-hit tennis shots just go off the court or into the net – not much fun.
Also, tennis can be pretty demanding physically. Not easy to ride in a cart and drink while you play tennis.
Baby-boomers were getting older and golf seemed the logical next step from the frustrations of tennis. But, did the Boomers want the Country Club scene? That’s where “Caddyshack” came in. The star of the movie – Chevy Chase – played the role of Ty Webb the Baby-boomer hotshot golfer who wasn’t into the competitive scene or the social scene of Bushwood Country Club.
Thus, the audience observes the ridiculousness of the culture of country club life. Golf comes off as a great game used as a vehicle for the social climbing of an older, snobby generation. In fact, the last scene is the victory of the young caddy and the Baby-boomer Ty beating the Old-school judge and doctor as the course is blown apart in pursuit of gophers. The symbolism says it all: the old-time country club scene is on the way out.
The 1980’s and ’90’s were the years of the golf boom. The Boomers left tennis for golf, but weren’t looking for country clubs. Thus, the advent of the upscale public golf course.
But, what about Generation X … and Y … what do they want? We need a new golf movie to help us figure out the future of golf.
GM and Head Golf Professional