or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Has golf gotten more or less popular in the last 10 years?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Has golf gotten more or less popular in the last 10 years? - Page 3

post #37 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpuckeroo View Post

Not like I have any numbers to back this up, but I would say over the last 3-4 years there are less rounds being played.  That's not so say golf has gotten less popular, it might be as popular as ever, just not as many rounds being played due to the lack of disposable income. However, if the price is right I think golf courses are busy.

I just joined a "country club" in my area, $50 initial fee, $50 a month for unlimited golf, carts are extra.  It's a course I can walk and do most of the time, just not when I play in the evenings and the temperature is 106, like it has been all during the month of July.  When I called for a tee time last Sunday, the course was full, they had tee times from 8am to 11am booked solid and only a few times available between 6am and 8am. 

 

 

How can a course stay in business only charging $50 for a MONTH ?

Jesus, that's cheaper than a gym membership.

 

That comes out to $2-$3 a round.   Unreal.

post #38 of 45

I'm the same as you, always considered golf and old rich mans sport and had no interest in playing it until I was 45.  I relate golf courses to restaurants in how they are run and managed.  I've been to some pretty expensive restaurants that price everything high so they can claim a certain clientele and atmosphere.  Many of these restaurants are successful because they built the restaurant in an appropriate location and along with the high prices the service, food and overall experience are very good.  I've seen many others go out of business for various reasons, bottom line is if you're catering to the elite or wealthy you better have the entire package or you're not going to make it. 

 

I'd guess the same is true of golf courses.  If a course charges excessively high green fees and cart rentals the course better be one that people will want to play and that justifies the expense or they'll go someplace else that either offers a better course, cheaper green fees or both.   Some courses also seem slow to react to competition or under estimate the impact it will have on their base of business.  It's like I say in my business, if we don't take care of our customers, someone else will. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

4 established golf courses have closed within 30 miles of me within the last 2 years.     That can't be normal.     I think most non-golfers still consider golf to be an elitist sport, and have no interest in trying it.     THAT was me ... I never had any interest in trying it until I was 45 years old for that very reason.    Figured it was just not my crowd.    Well, f the crowd - golf is an individual sport and I wish more people would look at it that way.   

 

Of course Golfnow.com has opened the door for dirt cheap bottomfeeder golf which I take full advantage of ... and EVERY SINGLE one of these 4 courses that closed would NEVER advertise discounted tee times on golfnow.com & never got a penny of my money on principle alone.     It always seemed to me they were trying to keep people off the course who didn't want to pay their top dollar tee times.   It seems blindingly obvious that it would be a better business decision to fill the course offering $18 tee times, than have it practically empty by mandating $40 minimum tee times.    Personally, I think they were trying to maintain an elitist status by charging those tee time rates and not advertising discount rates ... and weeds are now growing up through what were once greens - coinscidence, or something more ?!?!??!?  

post #39 of 45

Keep in mind that service goes a long way too. In my area, you can charge $40 per 18 as long as the course is well maintained. The greens, fairways and tee boxes should all be watered. The tee boxes and fairways should be as pristine as the greens are. There should be some sort of landscaping around, obviously nothing Augusta-esque - but a few flower beds and some mulch wouldn't hurt.

 

There are courses just as I described above for $30-50 a round out here and they are always packed. The catch is that the staff is extremely friendly, the rangers are not stiffs and they have senses of humor and make you laugh, the food/beverages are not outrageously priced, etc.

 

The stereotype of a bunch of grumpy ass old men, smoking cigars and sipping brandy/bourbon while counting money is insane. I still know people that think this is what golf is and I question what planet they are from.

 

In my opinion, golf is more popular now but at the same time decreasing in business mostly due to the economy and not its popularity. Some courses still charge $4.00 a beer and after selling 4 of 24 bud lights, they paid for the entire case and the other $80 is profit off of one case of beer. $3.00 for a hot dog and you can get an 8 pack of Ball Park hot dogs for $4.00. Things like this hurt golf as well.

 

The only major course that went out of business near my home was Blue Heron Golf Course, but they were astronomical in price. They have a 30,000 square foot mansion as a club house, way too many staff members, charged $75.00 for 18 and a cart, nearly $6,000/year membership -or- $45,000 lifetime membership fee! It's no damn wonder that they had all of their equipment repossessed and had to throw the 'Sorry! We're Closed!' sign out front... right next to the bankruptcy notice. This course was recently bought out buy another successful golf course owner in Northeast Ohio though (Mr. Haddad who currently owns Cherokee Hills/Coppertop) and I'm sure he will turn it around into a gold mine.

 

EDIT: Course that I'm referencing is http://www.golfblueheron.com/index.php

post #40 of 45

It's dropping.. According to the Super's and other golfing agencies..  The number of rounds are dropping and the number of golf course closings is becoming an issue for the last 5-7+ years.. I honestly believe the next generation just isn't picking up the clubs..  I know the First Tee program is trying to do all they can, but it might be too little, too late..  Kids today in general are finding other forms of entertainment besides picking up a club, ball or bat.. Especially one that cost money to play.. 
 

post #41 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThominOH View Post

It's dropping.. According to the Super's and other golfing agencies..  The number of rounds are dropping and the number of golf course closings is becoming an issue for the last 5-7+ years.. I honestly believe the next generation just isn't picking up the clubs..  I know the First Tee program is trying to do all they can, but it might be too little, too late..  Kids today in general are finding other forms of entertainment besides picking up a club, ball or bat.. Especially one that cost money to play.. 
 

 

Yeah.  It's too bad that so many people now consider Wii to be sports.  Wii baseball, Wii tennis, Wii golf.  Sorry folks, but that ain't a real golf ball on the screen. e3_rolleyes.gif

post #42 of 45

There is a reason why:

 

The First Tee program is striving to introduce 10 million new golfers to the game...(younger people to take the place of the boomers)

That new ways to play are being explored...(hitting a different demographic with tee it forward, 12 holes, Golf 2.0, etc)

Marketing towards the family...(to attract women and children aka Golf 2.0 concept)

Golf Now.Com is so popular...(maximize empty tee times, convenience, revenue, never lose a green fee because someone wasn't by the phone)

Customer Service is back in the golf industry (recognizing that golfers are not growing on trees like in the 90s and income is not so disposable)

Golf is as cheap as it was 20 years ago...(at least in my area, too many courses, shift in economics, etc.)

Private has gone semi-private or public...(many clubs have opened their doors to non-members to pay the bills)

 

I have seen the stats from the NGF and have my experience in South Florida to rely on. Back in the 90s, you could walk into the average pro shop and you were almost an inconvenience. They would charge you $45.00 and you would be on your way playing a game that seemed to be in vogue. Graphite shafts and $300 drivers were the norm and being marketed to the boomers. Twenty years later and we are in a new age. The economy is a factor, the boomers have aged, and the time spent on activities is not viewed the same by the iPhone generation. I can walk into most pro shops and everyone is glad you are there. They charge you $40.00 and put you on the email list to send you specials so that you will return. The pro does not own the golf shop, but you can go to a sports outlet or big box and still buy that $300 driver. There has been a shift to attract and retain golfers unlike any other time that I can remember. The golf course industry has had to adapt in order to survive. There is one obvious exception which is the uber-exclusive clubs with the recession proof members. 

post #43 of 45

I'm the parent of two of those first tee program kids, and we (the parents) started playing instead of sitting around waiting for them. First tee is really good for the kids, and my kids seem to enjoy it. My family often goes to play 9 hole executive or 18 hole as time permits.The greens fees are $1 for the kids at SCGA sponsored courses. A foursome (on 18 holes, super-twilight) for only $56 includes 2 carts, we usually get 16-18 holes before dark. I presume that we will continue to play as a family for years to come. Far better than theme parks (we live in So. Cal.), and less expensive too. We can purchase 2-3 year old equipment (brand new in the store) for about 1/3 the price of new model years.

 

So, there we are happily playing golf twice a month together.

 

We get some hard stares from people behind us, until my small 12 year old (with a 15 handicap) drives 200 yards off the tee.

post #44 of 45

I played from my mid/late teens to my early 20's.  mid 1970's to around 1985.

 

Then I quit and took the game back up 2 years ago.

 

The differences I see.

 

Quite a few of the older courses in the St Louis area where I live have closed.  They've been replace though with more courses. Definitely a net gain of golf courses.

 

Back then, there where more 9 hole golf courses around.  How many 9 hole courses are built anymore?

 

I'm sure there may have been one around but I don't ever remember executive (par 3) courses.  At least I never played one back then.

 

Golfers wise, I'd say there's the same amount on any given course each week as compared to 30 years ago but due to there being more courses there's obviously more people golfing.

 

Most of the courses in my area have some sort of junior golf league,  not true back then.

 

Most local high schools have golf programs.  Again, not true 30 years ago.

 

Cost wise, the older courses still in business on average cost $10-20 (or more) less to play than one of the 'newer' courses built in the last 10-15 years.

 

One big difference, not that it's a big deal, is most golf courses prohibit bringing outside beverages or coolers onto the course.  They insist your purchasing from them.  That's different from back then.

 

While new golf equipment was of interest to any golfer back then, these days there's far more focus on the equipment, even the clothing as compared to back then.

 

To me the sport has grown marginally over the years.  It's still a very difficult game to excel at and I think that is what keeps a lot of the general public from taking the sport up. 
 

post #45 of 45

I suspect there are regional differences. I started in the 70's and we had a junior golf league, I was on the team through jr high. We also had a high school golf team, I was on that as well. I think the popularity of the game among amatuers in the post Tiger era has increased proportional to urban sprawl. The number of courses around here now compared to the 70's is considerable and the competition is fierce. Quite a few independants have been taken over by the city after bankruptcy. According to the former president of the USGA, I saw him commenting about this while watching the US AM this morning, the expense and time it takes to play are legit concerns. Here the courses that get the most traffic are those that cater to golfers of all stripes, the ones that have multiple courses for a variety of skill levels. Quite a few require making a tee time to get out on the par 3.

 

I nearly bought a house that backed to a course. I killed the deal last week because I had concerns about the financial stability of the course and questioned paying the premium for a golf course property after remembering a similar course closed last summer and was bulldozed to build more houses. On that course I can walk on at any time of day unless there is league play. At my former home course just 20 miles south getting out there requires reserving a tee time as much as a week in advance. So much depends on location and amenities.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Has golf gotten more or less popular in the last 10 years?