Manchester Evening News: Chubby Chandler on Manchester Golf and the Ryder Cup
Article posted: 07 October 2018
We haven’t had a European Tour tournament in Manchester I think since the Greater Manchester Open in Worsley in 1981 which is outrageous if you think about it.
After Europe, Thomas Bjorn and the European Tour, the biggest winners at the Ryder Cup were Paris and France.
It was just unbelievable and a real victory for their long-term plan which worked ridiculously well. The logistics and everything needed to get 54,000 people watching four games were spot on.
Having been to the French Open so many times, I thought Versailles would be the epicenter, but I went to Paris for dinner on Saturday and the whole place was rocking with people from all over the world. It’s a global event with massive reach.
People talk golf down a lot, but I think it’s absolutely fine. The world has changed massively in the last 15 years and there are millions of other things to do. Who would have thought when I set up ISM in 1989 that E Gaming would be a big industry with agents and coaches and sponsorship?
Numbers might be down a little bit – maybe we built too many courses and it got a bit expensive – but on the whole things are good.
We don’t need any innovation; the game just needs to speed up and the fact that non-golf fans were absolutely riveted to the Ryder Cup can only be good.
Like everything else, sponsorship has changed. When I started out, you might get a logo and a golf day from a player for your money but now sponsors are smarter and want a lot more for their buck, which is fine. Small dinners with 10 or 12 clients are a great way to use the time and deals are a lot more content and social media driven, even compared to five years ago.
It’s easier in the United States but the uncertainty over Brexit has made things more difficult here.
One of the things we’re doing a little differently is our ‘Class of’ programme which will be in its fourth year with the ‘Class of 19’.
It’s a group of sponsors supporting young lads, with hospitality and events like our golf day at Turnberry. Last year we were bit spoilt with Matt Wallace winning on his third start and Clement Sordet also getting on to the European Tour. There’s a real buzz about it and the sponsors end up part of the team.
Golf in Manchester is interesting. We’ve got lots of decent courses but nothing world class. You can see the Trafford Centre driving range and the Crazy Golf there is really vibrant and Top Golf are looking to do something in Manchester which would be cool.
We haven’t had a European Tour tournament in Manchester I think since the Greater Manchester Open in Worsley in 1981 which is outrageous.
If we could get something like that back and get 15,000 fans a day there it would crystallize the local interest but I’m just not sure where you could host it.
Manchester produces good golfers and we’ve got some cracking lads on ISM’s books. Matt Nixon and Tom Murray are established in Europe and Haydn McCullen who, at 21, has been unlucky with a back problem but has a very good future ahead of him.
He’s only been adopted by Manchester, but Simon Dyson has also had an excellent career.