Sex fails to turn on golf readers

A sports trade magazine has been forced to “tone things down” after it featured a blonde model with a golf ball lodged between her breasts as its front page.

Golf Course News International – or GCNI, was inundated with complaints after it decided to try and ‘sex up’ its latest editions as a way to attract a new, younger audience.

Seemingly inspired by popular lads magazines like Loaded, GCNI’s new look included a feature on how sex can improve your game, followed by revealing shots of famous female golfers.

A follow up edition of the magazine, which was recently bought by a new owner, went one step further by asking readers to ‘spot the difference’ with a bikini-clad model.

According to The Independent, the change in content sparked outrage not only among readers, but also among advertisers, prompting them to withdraw their support.

Golf clubs, including St Andrews, have refused to stock the publication, while industry bodies, including The European Institute of Golf Architects, have condemned the ‘top shelf’ appearance.

More conservatism criticism has come from The British International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association, which has suggested the theory of ‘sex sells’ is unsuitable for such a niche market.

“Greenkeeping is now a serious profession and they are very qualified people so a lot of them feel the way in which this publication is writing is very insulting,” the association added.

Since the complaints, GCNI’s editor has explained that the new owners – Seoul Nassau, a golf firm, wanted the new look to replace the perception that the magazine was dull and boring.

Gareth Main, who is overseeing the third forthcoming issue, told Scotland on Sunday: “There is a theory that sex sells but we concede it may have been taken a bit too far in the first two issues. But the good thing is that it got the magazine talked about. If we use similar material in the future then it will have to be justified and in context."

The front cover showing the blonde model with a golf ball in flames lodged between her breasts was justified by the headline: ‘Women & Golf: The Burning Issue.’

“We hope that now we have toned things down advertisers will come back,” Mr Main added. “We have a meeting with them next week.”

Despite the hope, the magazine’s third edition is expected to run more compromising pictures of female golfers, separate to a feature reportedly entitled ‘Brit Beauties Tipped for the Top.’


5th September 2006

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