I was saddened to read recently that Peter Schindler, CEO of Strokesaver International Management AG, died suddenly while on holiday in Dubai on March 25th.
Strokesaver is the “brand” in the world of golf course guides, a name so fixed in golfers brains that it is the term used to describe yardage books and course guides.
In the same way that Kleenex is paper kitchen towel, Coca a Cola means caramelized fizzy soft drink and Titleist is the #1 ball in golf.
Some of my earliest golfing memories are of feeling joy and satisfaction at buying a simple laminated white book with the words “Strokesaver” and a beautiful golf course image centre cover.
Its glossy pages full of maps and yardages were my curriculum and guide to the course I was about to discover.
Like the child who collects football stickers from World Cups and European Championships, I developed a fascination for the subtle, simplistic but beautiful art work that showed an aerial view of golf holes in fine detail.
I became, and still am to this day, a collector of Strokesavers.
The Strokesaver is more than just a yardage chart.
It’s art for golfers.
More than just art it’s a trophy, a memento, a souvenir of the links walked and balls struck, a simple and classic way of never forgetting where you played.
I’m proud to own:
- Open Championship Player’s Strokesaver from Carnoustie 2007
- Ryder Cup 2010 player’s Strokesaver for Celtic Manor’s 2010 course
- Strokesavers for Muirfield, Royal Lytham St Anne’s, Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale and The Old Course St Andrews
I own many other course guides too, at the last count I had collected over 300 course guides.
Guides made by different brands and some from famous places including Pine Valley Golf Club and Augusta National, but they aren’t strokesavers, they are poor relations, no matter how prestigious the course they chart.
Strokesaver matters more now than ever before
Today is the digital age.
We don’t have time anymore to pull out a book and check the yardage to the front of the green and use our eyeballs to judge how far on the green that pin is.
No, it’s a push of a button and GPS Satellites revolve and beam down a precise yardage to hazards and flagsticks.
If that’s too troublesome, just laser the flag with a device used by snipers and professional marksmen.
While range finders and GPS powered measuring devices are quick and easy to use, you can’t sit at home the night before, with a cup of hot cocoa, and study the pictures on your Bushnell or write notes to yourself on your Sky Caddie touch screen.
It doesn’t matter that Strokesavers can cost between £5 and £7, it’s like buying a book by your favourite author and keeping them together on the book shelf in perfect alphabetical order.
Undoubtedly, a Strokesaver is now a luxury and range finders are a major challenge to its business.
Those classy white books will always appeal to the purist, to the golfer who likes to study the game and who appreciates the difference between the “classic” collection and your everyday yardage book.
How do you measure a life in golf
If you could measure a life spent in golf and put a currency on the pleasure you have brought to the golfing fraternity, then Peter Schindler died a rich man on Sunday March 25, 2012.
Strokesaver issued the following statement: “It is with the deepest sadness and sorrow that we announce the death of our colleague Peter Schindler. Peter was the CEO of Strokesaver International Management AG and was on holiday in Dubai when he suddenly passed away on Sunday 25th March 2012.
“Peter had been active for many years promoting and building the reputation of the Strokesaver course guides throughout the world. Of course he will be sadly missed by us all.”