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Why isn't golf attracting more new players? - Page 2

Poll Results: What's the major reason golf isn't attracting many new players

 
  • 34% (78)
    Economy - disposable income is down
  • 12% (27)
    A round of golf just takes too long these days
  • 6% (14)
    Bad image - people think golf is for the old and rich
  • 2% (5)
    Tiger isn't playing as well as he used to
  • 0% (2)
    Rules are too complicated
  • 6% (14)
    Golf clubs are too expensive
  • 8% (18)
    Greater time demands from family and job
  • 0% (2)
    USGA is taking the fun out of golf - Anchored stroke ban
  • 10% (23)
    Golf is too hard and frustrating to play
  • 0% (0)
    Not enough qualified instructors for kids
  • 1% (4)
    Lack of public courses in your area
  • 0% (2)
    Not enough golf ranges in your area
  • 0% (2)
    Insufficient coverage by mainstream media
  • 0% (2)
    Fear of playing as single or with strangers
  • 13% (31)
    Golf is doing fine, there are no problems with it.
224 Total Votes  
post #19 of 192

I think no matter what it comes down to money, most people do not want to get into a sport they feel will cost them some high $$$. I live in Los Angeles, really the only affordable courses are 9 hole, a few executive ones for the average person that is all they can afford. 

 

But when it came down for me it was time, 12 years in Cub, Boy and Girl Scouts we where gone almost every weekend. The clubs got put aside for a few good many years plus i gave it up out of sure frustration. Now the daughters in first year of collage and the big boy first year of HS, plus he is working on his Eagle there seems to be a bit more time.

I am with inthehole I look for deals all the time, i have to pay for two of us plus my girls collage.

The wife is always glad to see me leave for a round, matter of fact she thinks I should stay for two....c3_clap.gif

post #20 of 192

If, and I repeat IF, golf is slower in attracting new players, it's 99.9 % because of cost.  It has nothing to do with rules or how you hold the putter, maybe a little bit due to time available.  Anyone who reads anything else into it is imagining things. 

post #21 of 192
More new players than what? All I have to do is show up at my local course and watch the back to back kids camps to see that the next generation of golf nuts is alive and well....at least down here!
post #22 of 192

I was introduced to golf by my father, who was a "Blue Collar Union" sort of guy. He enjoyed the social aspect of the game, and the competitiveness. I think he played close to scratch, made state tourneys often.

 

Back then a working man could play a couple times a week without infringing on the grocery budget, even with 5 growing children. When we were old enough to show an interest we worked as grounds guys or caddies to help defray the season pass Pop would spring for each of us ($125 annual unlimited) at the local municipal. During most of the season we would play daily, with an occasional Saturday with Pop. Clubs were "hand me downs" till we saved enough for our own.

 

It would probably take at least an upper six figure income for today's father to introduce his progeny today. And the youth of today have way more exciting diversions that don't require the dedication, patience, honesty, and gentlemanly manners of golf.

 

In short - Lack of money, lack of desire, lack of character.

post #23 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

The poll wouldn't let me choose more than one, so I guessed choice A, the cost.  This may, very well, be because I'm in southern California though.  My other choice was B - time.  I'm trying to get my wife into it a little more (extra difficult with two toddlers) and she actually enjoys it quite well when we go to the local 9 hole par 3 course.  We don't have enough time to play a full round on a full course right now, but we both agree that when the kids are older (especially when they are old enough to play also) we will try.  But 6 hours (out the door to back home) is a loooooong time.

 

If my wife was answering the poll, and she would qualify as a newbie, I think she would say time first, and then difficulty.  When we play and she's making contact and getting it in the air she has a blast.  When she starts whiffing and hitting it sideways, she hates it and would just as soon go home and never do it again.

 

P.S.  I'm just playing ... it's really the USGA and the anchored putter ban, no question. a2_wink.gifc3_clap.gif

 

 

Did you go to college at Ohio State, by chance? ;)

LOL Good eye.

 

I was rushing while writing that because i was in class...But, yes. Im Canadain Eh, is not so smart...

post #24 of 192

I selected "Golf is too hard and frustrating to play."  I have not (yet) read all of the other responses, so if this has already been said, then please consider this a +1 to that.

 

None of my comments are intended to be taken as being negative to the USGA, which I think does a great job of promoting golf as best they can.  The mainstream media (i.e. not the Golf Channel) may be partly to blame for not making golf seem more interesting, but in my opinion it is a small part.  The fact is that golf IS hard.  And because golf IS hard, golf IS frustrating.  And we live in the twenty-first century, and that means that most young potential golfers have grown up on computer/video games.  Don't snort and discount this line of thought please.  Computer/video games are today a HUGE industry.  Look at the numbers, a good game title will make much more money than a blockbuster movie.  And you can 'learn' a new game in a few hours, play it a few weeks/months to 'master' it, then move along to something else equally interesting.  And the economy also is a factor since a new video game is about the price of a round of golf at many courses.  That's many hours of entertainment vs. about four (or longer with added frustration).

 

Somehow, and sadly I don't have an answer to how, golf needs to be marketed to younger people with its difficulty as a prime incentive, rather than a drawback.  The very difficulty of golf should be the reason to go out week after week and practice.  Any kid that is willing to take the spills skateboarders do shouldn't be daunted by golf.  The trick, it seems to me, needs to be to make the difficulty cool.  Maybe more Youtube videos of crappy golfers having a really tough time of it, rather than Tiger making it look easy (like he used to.)

 

My two cents worth.  Now on to read the other comments.

post #25 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR McDivot View Post


It would probably take at least an upper six figure income for today's father to introduce his progeny today.

Holy crap!

If you can't find cheap golf and kids programs, you're just not looking! My daughter can attend free group lessons/clinics several times a week. She can play any number of courses down here for under $10 for 9 holes after school.

She did break into tears when I told her that soon she wouldn't be able to anchor her putter any more though! a1_smile.gif
Edited by David in FL - 2/22/13 at 10:27pm
post #26 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR McDivot View Post

and the youth of today have way more exciting diversions that don't require the dedication, patience, honesty, and gentlemanly manners of golf.

 

In short - Lack of money, lack of desire, lack of character.

 

a little harsh, but the truth hurts.    My 10 yr old nephew has an electronic game, ipad or laptop attached to his hand 24/7, as does just about every pre-teen kid I see today - it's instant gratification .... these kids live in a vivid electronic fantasyland.   He has absolutely no interest in anything that requires work or practice (i.e.  sports)

post #27 of 192

Although the economy is tough on  everything, golf has been stagnant or declining well before the current recession.

 

Golf is competing for people's time with a host of other time demands.  As a parent, I spend a lot of time with family-related events.  As a working professional, I am finding myself working harder and longer to meet rising expectations from my employer.  Golf is no longer a "business sport."  It is increasingly difficult to get people on a course to mix business and fun.  Long-term social and business trends have decreased "disposable time" more than "disposable income" in most cases.

 

I have three kids including two teenagers and have tried to introduce them to the game.  No takers so far.  The game is hard.  They feel embarrassed to swing and duff the ball and it doesn't matter that almost everyone goes through this stage....and some of us never really get out of it.  Most courses are unintentionally intimidating to new golfers who are trying to get onto the course and learn proper etiquette...especially in the presence of veteran golfers who visibly show disdain for newbie hackers. You can try to get new golfers to the range....but that quickly get's boring.  In the end, there are so many activities that they can choose from that golf does not "make the list."

 

Veteran golfers in congested areas often take a narrow, short-sided view about how declining participation in golf may help improve their situation by speeding up their rounds.  But in the end, there will likely be fewer courses where remaining golfers will be concentrated on surviving courses resulting in a "net zero" impact on pace of play.   Greens fees wills will go up or course maintenance may go down.  And certainly, fewer courses means fewer choices and decreased variety.  None of these outcomes I find particularly pleasant.

post #28 of 192

A very thoughtful post Topper.  Unfortunately I agree with everything you said.  

 

There is at least one argument on the other side, not enough to counterbalance all the others though.   Perhaps this reflects my English upbringing more than anything but the association of golf with the Country Club set, with white pants and sweaters etc etc, has largely disappeared.  I have to say that this notion did put me off somewhat as a teenager, preferring the company of people sweating it out on a squash court rather than sipping Pimms by the practice green.

 

Golf is now more cool to younger people, but it's a minor factor sadly.  Golf now has much more to compete with for people's time, energy and disposable income.  That isn't going to reverse itself.

post #29 of 192

While your list of very good  reasons that golf is not growing more popular is rather extensive, it failed to mention one additional, critical reason; the changing demographic make up of the United States.

 

 

Golf is historically tied to the oppression of blacks, minorities, women and the working class....it has earned its reputation as a rich, white, male, ostensably hetero, ruling class game....and despite the many PR spin initiatives, remains very much so.

 

The PGA Tour was one of the very last "sports" organizations to integrate....and  looking at the players, it has made rather modest progress to this effect.  Tiger Woods did more for the games image than any single player-before or since as minorities began to view golf as something that they might be able to participate in ......whatever thier actual experiences may turn out to be at their local clubs. (I have witnessed and heard many many horrific racist, classist, sexist accounts from golf clubs and country clubs)

 

Fact is that the games image and demographic trends parallel to that of the rapidly declining Republican Party which has long associated itself with the game.  Both are corporatist entities primarily made up of white men over age 50 who either A. "Got theirs" and have no intention of pitching in to help less fortunate. B. Didnt get theirs and are angry at "those people" who keep them from doing so. C. All of the above.

 

A casual perusal of golf social websites such as this very one will demonstrate the beliefs , attitudes, values and behaviors of regressive austerity driven economic and social policies that are decidedly in the minority with the general public but hold great favor within the golfer's universe. In example, just go to the thread about Obama 's Golf weekend and read the virtually fact-free rightwing screeds and attacks against a President who was elected by a huge electoral vote count and is the first to win the popular vote in both elections since Ike.....you'd never know this by checking out the Golfchannel website, for instance, where this news led to a disgusting display of visciously racist posts.....

 

My own posts here on the Obama Golfing thread were apparently removed and they contained no such attacks but only support for the President and refutation of the litanny of Fox and Rush soundbites passing as facts against our president.  'Tis shameful indeed that our moderator apparently decided to engage in the cowardly act of removing my posts (without any notification to me) while leaving so much of the alternate fact-free world view that best represents the foundational problem haunting the game of golf:   Let me try again to fill in some who may be interested in learning why the new majority just "arent that into golf":

 

We , generally, view the golf establishment as hostile to: Blacks, Latinos, women and other minorities who collectively now make up the MAJORITY of the American population. And just like the GOP, if you want to be successful with us you must change not only your packaging (spin) but your practices .

 

Personally, I love the game of golf and wish that more people from my background had the opportunity to experience its many delights....but  I also fully understand the many obstacles to that happening - and frankly detest those individuals and institutions (Country Clubs, Corporate sponsors, PGA Tour fops, individual players at all levels,  et. al.) still excluding the new majority of Americans.

 

If History serves to present patterns, then golf will once again bring up the rear in terms of reflecting America's new diverse face and as per usual lead the way as a symbol of intolerant resistance to change and social equality. A shameful past need not determine a shameful future should golf realize and acknowledge the new face of America.....For example, Latinos represent

the fastest growing demographic in America...every month approximately 50 thousand Latinos turn age 18....does anyone else see a "market" for golf there?  Just sayin' ,amigo.

post #30 of 192

Topper I think you hit on a good point with the veteran golfers, not all but some hate to be behind a new young players. Some are very kind and love to see the your people playing, But I see that with my son all the time, even though I let people play ahead if we are being a bit slow they make comments, like why don't you have him in lesions or wow we sure have been waiting 30 minutes for you. Better yet hit up on us! I had a comment this morning from an older guy who said finally we have been only able to play 3 holes in almost 3 hours. I was like really 3 hours it would have been 4:00 am when you started and you where not here at that time! His buddy on the other hand was very nice and was talking to my son while we waited for the group ahead to play.

I know that we are a little slow and we try very hard to let others play ahead or keep a good pace. But he hears this and it gets him down and he starts to swing to fast and that messes him up. To bad that some don't have any consideration for the younger ones, I think it is great to see them play and be outside, it beats the heck out of all the video games, drugs and sex.

 

I can see why some not all of the young people decide to give it up for this reason, it is a hard sport.

post #31 of 192

all i know is that for three years running, my home course has seen the total number of rounds per year increase...

 

Personally, I think the whole "theres a decline in new golfers" is being overblown a bit.  I see lots and lots of junior golfers...many who are barely big enough to be taller than a club..out there having fun and playing and learning and so on. 

post #32 of 192
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paradox View Post

all i know is that for three years running, my home course has seen the total number of rounds per year increase...

 

Personally, I think the whole "theres a decline in new golfers" is being overblown a bit.  I see lots and lots of junior golfers...many who are barely big enough to be taller than a club..out there having fun and playing and learning and so on. 

It's a possibility the decline is overblown, but it could also be that this is an overall national trend that is hitting some areas harder than others.  It could also mean that the average age of golfers is increasing which means there's not enough younger golfers to take our place when we give up the game. 

post #33 of 192
Mildly bloviating post on last page as to how irrelevant the Republican Party is today and how exactly this applies to the traditional golf demographic. I can see the correlation in theory, but think the one fallacy with that post involves the inherent cost of maintaining a quality golf course. It will always be expensive, and lets face it, on average us old white guys outnumber the alledged new majority population segment in disposable income. I just don't see widespread demographic changes if the cost of golf remains at what it is today ...
post #34 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

Mildly bloviating post on last page as to how irrelevant the Republican Party is today and how exactly this applies to the traditional golf demographic. I can see the correlation in theory, but think the one fallacy with that post involves the inherent cost of maintaining a quality golf course. It will always be expensive, and lets face it, on average us old white guys outnumber the alledged new majority population segment in disposable income. I just don't see widespread demographic changes if the cost of golf remains at what it is today ...

"Bloviating".......nice word mate

post #35 of 192

Stogiesnbogies......right on.

 

Loglady say's "why would you want to spend time with the sort of people that play golf". I don't know how to tell her!a3_biggrin.gif

post #36 of 192

Maybe it is demographic i live 25 miles north of Disneyland and do not see many really young kids ever on the course. Teens 18 to 21+ but I do not see the younger ones we play every weekend. I do see a lot at the range?

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