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Golf is for the upper class? - Page 4

post #55 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfreuter415 View Post
 

 

Before I retired I was a junior varsity coach, and to a great extent, your premise has great validity. The golfers on the varsity team usually were also members at local clubs. However, as the JV coach I would have about half country clubs and half municipal players. 

 

I particularly loved this arrangement, because I had an opportunity to do more teaching than the varsity coach, who players usually took lessons from their local pro. To be truthful, not many of the muni players became starters, but occasionally one of the non-country club players that I worked with on the JV would become a starter.

 

One other note: programs like First Tee can make a difference in bringing golf to youth who normally do not have access to the courses or equipment.

 

Post script:  Our varsity team has been first or second in their section of play for the last 20+ years, basically because the teams they play against have a lot more municipal player then we do.

 

 

 I happen to belong to a private country club and I can tell you that some of the members' kids/grandkids have a significant advantage over the blue collar's kids/grandkids when it comes to playing at a high level.  While excellent programs like First Tee are great they just cannot replace years of private lessons, first rate and fitted clubs and constant participation in youth tournaments.  I see the kids at the club that are 10-12 years old with swings like the pros and shooting close to par on championship courses.  So while I think golf is a game for the masses there isn't really a question in my mind that it is an distinct advantage for the kids from wealthy families to "make the local HS team".  

 

Just so I don't come across as some sort of country club snob here I'll tell you I grew up in much different circumstances than I now find myself.  So whatever I now have I got the old fashioned way, I earned it.  But I can see from my club membership that there is a reason why wealth doesn't seem to last beyond the second or third generation.  While having wealthy grandparents might make an easier road to being a scratch golfer some of these kids are (not all but many) in for a rude awaking when the start life outside of the CC.  

post #56 of 114

It's about access, not wealth. With rare exceptions, kids originally take up golf because their parents played golf. And if their parents have the wherewithal, they may learn the game at an expensive club. But if the parents played at a muni, then there is no reason the kids wouldn't become just as good.

 

There would potentially be lots of great surfers, but they live in Kansas.  Or lots of great skiers who live in Colorado, but their parents had no interest in skiing. Or lots of great golfers who live in the inner city, but only had basketball courts for recreation.

post #57 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

 

No, what it takes is knowing how to budget your time so you can do the things that are important in your life.  

Exactly and for many Golf doesnt even cross their minds when the priority is to pay the mortgage, rent, food, kids schooling, clothing and thats without even going in to competition from other past times etc. Golf is an expensive sport and when people merely scratch the surface and see how much a set of clubs can cost, clothes, balls, rounds played at courses they see on tv then its no wonder some people might have the perception golf is for the rich.

 
Appended Quote from Fourputt:
 I've known any number of good family men who played golf on a weekly basis without spending the grocery money or depriving their families of their participation.  One good way to do both is to get your kids involved in the game as they get old enough to play.  

 

How about you quote my entire train of thought?  Pulling out one sentence from that paragraph makes it sound like I just stopped there.  Most people definitely can find a way to play some golf if they really want to, even when raising a family.  There may be a period when kids are still too young to play, but even then I have friends who took the kid to the course when playing their weekly fourball with friends, and the kids get a real kick out of getting to ride in the cart and interact with grownups.  It gives them an opportunity to not only spend quality time with their kids, but also to introduce them to the game early, and teach things like etiquette and respect for the players and for the course.  I loved seeing dads and moms bring their kids to the course, and I enjoyed those rounds played with the kids along.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post
 

 

Well thats no different to me saying my neighbour who would love to play golf at least once a month cant because he has small kids to look after...doesnt really prove anything either way.

 

But what you cannot argue is that if you do not have either the money or the time then you arent going to be playing golf AND because of this many people will have the perception that golf is for the rich and wealthy.

 

Mailman

 

What that says is that where there is a will, there is a way.  The title of the thread does not mention "perception".  It asks an absolute:  Is golf only for the upper class?  Most of us say no it isn't, because we aren't in that class, our friends aren't in that class, and that makes any such perception false.

 

You and others here make it seem as if a family man has to be a millionaire before he can have the time to both play golf and spend time with family.  All I'm doing is refuting that claim with examples that demonstrate my point.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

It's about access, not wealth. With rare exceptions, kids originally take up golf because their parents played golf. And if their parents have the wherewithal, they may learn the game at an expensive club. But if the parents played at a muni, then there is no reason the kids wouldn't become just as good.

 

There would potentially be lots of great surfers, but they live in Kansas.  Or lots of great skiers who live in Colorado, but their parents had no interest in skiing. Or lots of great golfers who live in the inner city, but only had basketball courts for recreation.

 

You want to talk expensive and "elite", skiing beats golf cold.  Not only the equipment, but the fees tend to be higher and you typically have a lot longer way to travel to get to the slopes.  

post #58 of 114

Take a chill pill. There is nothing that you have said that contradicts anything Ive mentioned. Its a simple fact that if you dont have the time or money then you arent going to be playing golf.

 

To you the original question may be an absolute but the reality is most people probably do have a perception that golf is only for the rich and wealthy. People probably have that perception because golf IS an expensive sport that requires significant amounts of time, effort and...wait for it...money.

 

Finally, to be honest I dont give a rats backside about skiiing...even though you wont find me disagreeing with you. Then again its a truth, skiing IS for the upper classes! :)

 

Mailman

post #59 of 114
Compare to the cost of regular football (soccer) attendance, which is seen as a lower class sport and I think the idea that golf is expensive is rubbished pretty quickly. £25 for a round vs. £50 plus train/coach travel for an away football game.
post #60 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post
 

Exactly and for many Golf doesnt even cross their minds when the priority is to pay the mortgage, rent, food, kids schooling, clothing and thats without even going in to competition from other past times etc. Golf is an expensive sport and when people merely scratch the surface and see how much a set of clubs can cost, clothes, balls, rounds played at courses they see on tv then its no wonder some people might have the perception golf is for the rich.

I have to agree with this.

 

While I would have loved to take my kids on trips every summer, have four-wheelers for the spring snowmobiles for the winter, take them to pro ball games, take them hunting, take them fishing, get them into snowboarding, AND introduce them to golf, there just wasn't time or money to do some of these things more than once. And I sure as hell didn't have the time. I mostly worked six days a week and I wasn't about to spend my one day off away from them.

 

So I took them golfing once when they were younger - like grade school age. The three of us shared a set of clubs I'd bought at a thrift store for like $20 (included persimmon driver and woods). They were pissed because I wouldn't get a golf cart and we had to walk 9 holes. Lol. It was the first time I'd ever set foot on a golf course the only time for many years - because of time and money.

 

It wasn't until they were in high school and had jobs of their own when they took up golf. They bought their own clubs and paid for their own green fees. My youngest son talked me into getting out there with him one day and we had a blast. It seemed expensive at the time. I have to give my wife credit for having the wisdom to see that it was money well-spent. We played almost weekly that summer. I have since found an affordable way to pull it off but have had to cut back on some of my previous hobbies. 

 

Looking back, I would never have had time to take up the sport when they were smaller.

post #61 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctcampbell View Post

Compare to the cost of regular football (soccer) attendance, which is seen as a lower class sport and I think the idea that golf is expensive is rubbished pretty quickly. £25 for a round vs. £50 plus train/coach travel for an away football game.

How much does it cost to play club soccer? $300 a month plus a minimum $100 a month on food and drink?

 

If you are going to compare something then at least compare two similar things.

 

Mailman

post #62 of 114

You can compare golf to other sports all day long, but it doesn't answer the original question. I don't think it's for the upper class only, 1000's of middle class folks play. Maybe not at the ubber spendy private clubs, but they still play and these are the people that keep the muni courses in business. I live about 3 mins. from Trump's course, and no way am I gonna spend an outrageous amount of $$$ for a round of golf, just cuz that course sits on a cliff over looking the ocean, and has D. trumps name on it.  

post #63 of 114
I have always perceived it as a game for over privileged brats in high school... Then again I never took the time to even learn what the hell it was all about.. I was too busy between soccer and wrestling to think about it really..

Looking back now and thinking about the people I knew played golf, yes it is still for the overprivliged even though later on in life barriers to entry seem to diminish, but only slightly, as I'm sure if my job status changes my membership and lesson plans and even range visits might also change.
post #64 of 114

I sense that golf has shifted back toward the rich somewhat in recent years. Someone wrote a column on this a few weeks ago - sorry I can't find it...

 

The writer said that after World War II, lots of public courses were built which opened up golf to everyday people. The writer told how his father, a blue-collar guy, used to go out on Saturdays during the 1960s and play 36 holes with his friends. The guys would tee off in the morning, play 18, grab a hot dog for lunch, and play 18 more. The writer said the courses were more user-friendly, and walkers could play 18 in about three hours.

 

The writer said that the recent Recession, the 1990s arms race to build tougher courses, increased greens fees and tougher courses that take 5 hours to play all make golf less attractive. If you factor in another topic we've discussed before, the lack of "adult" free time due to more intensive parenting by the Generation X set, then you really have to be into golf to keep playing.

 

And with the lingering Recession, some former golfers I know are reluctant to play regularly because they pursue face time at work, thinking it will make layoff less likely.

 

I teach at a mid-sized college, and the left-of-liberal crowd that never ventures very far past the latte shop when the sun's out still make snide remarks about all golfers as being idle rich, or anti-female. Strange thing is, the regular liberal political science profs probably make up the biggest block of faculty golfers on campus. (Alas, too many of my fellow business profs are workaholics).

 

And as colin07 notes, it (golf) certainly isn't for the poor.

post #65 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post
 

It's about access, not wealth. With rare exceptions, kids originally take up golf because their parents played golf. And if their parents have the wherewithal, they may learn the game at an expensive club. But if the parents played at a muni, then there is no reason the kids wouldn't become just as good.

 

There would potentially be lots of great surfers, but they live in Kansas.  Or lots of great skiers who live in Colorado, but their parents had no interest in skiing. Or lots of great golfers who live in the inner city, but only had basketball courts for recreation.

You're correct, it is about access.  While wealth never made anyone happy (other than temporally maybe) it will buy access.  My only point was that children of wealth have an easier road to becoming very good golfers than children of poverty and middle class.  Having said that one only needs to look at the PGA, LPGA, and European Tour to find touring professionals that were not raised by wealthy families.  So it certainly is not impossible to become one of the best of the best golfers without wealthy a family and I didn't mean to imply that.

 

As far as being a recreational golfer and enjoying the game while playing to a reasonable handicap,  most who want to can do that if it they desire.

post #66 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by WUTiger View Post
 

 

 

The writer said that after World War II, lots of public courses were built which opened up golf to everyday people. The writer told how his father, a blue-collar guy, used to go out on Saturdays during the 1960s and play 36 holes with his friends. The guys would tee off in the morning, play 18, grab a hot dog for lunch, and play 18 more. The writer said the courses were more user-friendly, and walkers could play 18 in about three hours.

 

The writer said that the recent Recession, the 1990s arms race to build tougher courses, increased greens fees and tougher courses that take 5 hours to play all make golf less attractive. If you factor in another topic we've discussed before, the lack of "adult" free time due to more intensive parenting by the Generation X set, then you really have to be into golf to keep playing.

 

And with the lingering Recession, some former golfers I know are reluctant to play regularly because they pursue face time at work, thinking it will make layoff less likely.

 

I teach at a mid-sized college, and the left-of-liberal crowd that never ventures very far past the latte shop when the sun's out still make snide remarks about all golfers as being idle rich, or anti-female. Strange thing is, the regular liberal political science profs probably make up the biggest block of faculty golfers on campus. (Alas, too many of my fellow business profs are workaholics).

 

And as colin07 notes, it (golf) certainly isn't for the poor.

 

And yet, if you suggest to someone today that maybe your group should try one of those older courses, they'll decline with the comment that "It's just a municipal goat track" or something similar.  There are still lots of nice little aging munis around, but TV has ruined them for the "modern" golfer.  He thinks that he needs humps and bumps and sculptured bunkers and wavy greens to have a "quality" playing experience.  If they really loved golf, they'd be happy to tee it up any place, any time.

 

I started playing Denver city courses in the early '70s, then moved into a suburban recreational district which had two courses as part of the recreational offerings for residents.  One of those courses became my home course for the next 35 years.  I've watched it grow from a poor track that was built on a shoestring, and mature into a course which offers something for any golfer who isn't totally stuck on the cookie cutter style of course that players mistakenly think they need to properly challenge them.  It's a '60s style parkland course with enough trouble to bite, but player friendly enough to offer a good time for players of all levels.  Just shy of 7000 yards (71.5/127) from the back tees, 6500 yards (69.4/120) from the mids.   It's well maintained, properly marked several times each season.  We hosted high school tournaments, PAT testing among other tournaments and outings.  The facility includes a quality 9 hole par 3 course (holes from 80 yards to 195 yards), a 9 hole executive course, a huge 50 station grass range, separate lesson tee, short game/chipping green with bunker, and good sized putting green near the first tee.  Weekends it's $37 to walk 18 holes for a district resident, $40 for a non resident.  For juniors (17 and under) it's only $15 Mon-Thur, and every day in the off season from Nov-Mar (with organized junior programs throughout the summer).  Although part of a tax supported recreation district, the facility is actually a cash cow, turning a healthy profit and putting money into the district coffers to help support other activities.

 

The typical customer is low to mid middle class, family oriented.  Not wealthy.  Definitely not upper class.

post #67 of 114

More comments from the peanut gallery:

 

As WUTiger indicated, golf in the 50s-60s was introduced to the 'common man.'  I think guys like Arnold had something to do with this.  Many wanted to 'be like him' which included golf as an activity and perhaps even a personality trait.  Guess it was cool to be able to say, 'I play golf.'

 

Around the same time, 'joining the club' was something the suit and tie guys aspired to.  Saturday mornings/afternoons were spent at 'the club' hobnobbing with 'like types' or higher-ups to better their lot in life for themselves and family.

 

In the 70s, 'the club' was opened to more 'family life.'  The guys still played golf while the wife and kids enjoyed the pool and other club amenities.  The 'family club' went on well into the 80s when membership started its initial decline.

 

Then familial diversity kind of took over.  Kids playing sports or linked to other outside-the-home activities meant that the family was always going in several different directions at the same time.  If you had more than one child, this meant dad taking one child here and mom taking the other there. Time with family became more important than spending time at 'the club.'  When my boys had baseball games all summer, I took a hiatus from league night because I enjoyed watching them play more than playing golf.  Never missed a ball game unless work travel made it impossible to attend.

 

Joiners:  I'm 53 years old.  I play golf with a group of guys I've known for more than 30 years. To the best of my knowledge, not a single one of us has ever 'joined' a country club.  We're just not dues-paying 'joiners.'  It doesn't make sense to us.  Many of us could AFFORD to do so, but none has felt the need to, or seen any true benefit associated with joining a club.

 

I really feel that golf, in general, is at a cross road transition point right now.  I'm not sure the exact demographic, but would guess that boomers (ages 50-75) probably make up the largest segment of active, (once a week or more) players out there. Where the players will come from to replace those dropping off the far side, I'm not sure. Golf isn't being introduced to enough young people to keep the numbers strong enough to replace what falls off the other end.

 

Not sure where this will end or whether it's going to 'end well' at all.  In my local area, I've seen more than a few family-owned courses close, sell and turn into condo farms.  This was later 80s. Ironically, the economy was really taking off during this time--just not for golf. By early 90s, those courses were distant memories.  Another clue is that regionally in NE Ohio, we've only seen a scant few new courses built and opened.  Honestly,  I can only think of three in the a geographic triangle from Cleveland to Youngstown to Canton, Ohio.  Three.  That's it!  And expensive?  For this area, yes, VERY expensive to play them.

 

dave

post #68 of 114

There is such an enormous range in the amount of money you need to spend to play golf regularly (regular = once a week, at least in the summer).  There's a course in my area that allows walking on the weekend and charges $14 to walk 18.  You get what you pay for -- it *is* a goat track, but it's 6300 yards from the whites with tight fairways.  It's a decent test of golf and it's affordable for most people, though $60 a month would stress lower income budgets.   But if you ride, if you want to hit a bucket a couple of times a week, if you want to take a lesson now and then, it can start to add up quickly even playing cheap courses.  And of course gloves and balls, etc. are a small ongoing expense.  If you want to look at the high end -- nice private club with a big initiation fee and monthly dues, regular lessons, high-end equipment, golf attire, etc., then it certainly is a sport for the affluent, and that is the very visible public face of competitive golf. 

post #69 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post
 

How much does it cost to play club soccer? $300 a month plus a minimum $100 a month on food and drink?

 

If you are going to compare something then at least compare two similar things.

 

Mailman

What? That makes no sense at all. I don't have to be a member of a course to play golf. In fact I'm NOT a member of a course and I play just fine.

post #70 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by colin007 View Post

Well, it's certainly not for the poor.

 

I think this sums it up.  It is probably for the middle class and up.  I love to play but often wonder if I should be paying so much.  Some have noted some really good deals that they get on the weekends, but I live in metro Atlanta and we don't really have those - not without a significant drive anyway.  Compared to the other hobbies I've had as an adult:

 

Mountain Biking:

$800 for a bike once every 8 years or so

$50 for a bike rack for the car

Plus some maintenance costs

 

Playing Guitar: $500 for a guitar - more if you want to get a better one

plus some accessories from time to time

$300 for an amp if you want to plug in

 

Gym Membership: $30/month

 

Maybe it is just the particular hobbies I've had, but golf blows these away.  Not even close.  It is kind of expensive.

post #71 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctcampbell View Post

What? That makes no sense at all. I don't have to be a member of a course to play golf. In fact I'm NOT a member of a course and I play just fine.

In which case the best comparison would be to compare your your pay and play golfing to just turning up at a field with friends to arrange your own soccer game.

However the result doesn't change, golf will still cost you more to play AND take significantly longer and if you don't have either the time or the money you just aren't going to play golf.

Regards

Mailman
post #72 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

 

... I started playing Denver city courses in the early '70s, then moved into a suburban recreational district which had two courses as part of the recreational offerings for residents.  One of those courses became my home course for the next 35 years. ...

  

... The typical customer is low to mid middle class, family oriented.  Not wealthy.  Definitely not upper class.

I saw a similar thing down in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma City, the municipal park has 36 holes of golf, about 7,000 each from the back tees but more benevolent from the shorter tees. In nearby Edmond, the Kickingbird city course is as nice as some country clubs.

 

Often, the golf was the cash cow for the city parks systems. Decent golf courses with practice ranges, which drew a lot of play and $$$, which in turn provided a surplus to fund picnic areas and softball fields.

 

It depends on whether golf gets a foothold in the larger parks systems.

 

In the 1990s, a lot of non-golfers decided that they would build upscale golf courses + housing tracts. Unfortunately for the developers, they overbuilt on courses and houses. Our area on the Illinois side has about a dozen such courses. Most have fairly nice houses surrounding them, but you also find about half the lots never got built on.

 

Fortunately for everyday golfers, these have become fairly nice semi-privates: a few people with legacy equity memberships from early homeowners, but most play a flat-rate annual fee for carts and rounds. And, everyday people can make tee times in the open slots - some weeks there's a lot of them.

 

Course builders cut corners on three of these layouts, and they have problems with spot flooding or some greens that just won't keep the grass. I expect them to get subdivided. It would just take too much $$ to rework the original sloppiness, especially with the excess capacity in the area.

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