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post #73 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by indyvai View Post


Except in this case, you are trying to attract new consumers to an industry, not existing consumers toward a product.

 

Apple doesn't want new customers? It seems like you're saying Apple is more a Titleist going against Samsung a Taylormade, rather than Apple competing in computing/gadget/discretionary spending industry. I'm sure Apple wouldn't mind someone upgrading from a non-smartphone to the iPhone, like my mom recently did. She wouldn't count as a "new consumer" if you bucket apple as a phone manufacturer since my mom already owned a cell phone. In that case, your argument makes sense, but I'd say that golf is competing with alternatives in the recreational activity industry (tennis, frisbee, biking, hiking, swimming, surfing, etc). In that case, golf is trying to attract existing consumers toward a product. You can slice things however you want, the economics don't change.

 

I doubt it'll get more expensive, but I can't see how it'd become less expensive if there were more players. iPhone is a great example and Pebble Beach is another. Pebble Beach is certainly not lacking in demand, yet their greens fee is still over $400 (finite supply). Phoenix area golf is the perfect example. During winter, when demand is through the roof, prices skyrocket. During the summer, when the snowbirds return home, prices plummet. In mature, competitive industries like golf, price rises/falls to match supply with demand.

 

Golf has plenty of demand to gain all the economies of scale it can. Innovation is at a standstill given the current rules thus the call for ideas to "change" the game.

post #74 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgreen85 View Post


I doubt it'll get more expensive, but I can't see how it'd become less expensive if there were more players. iPhone is a great example and Pebble Beach is another. Pebble Beach is certainly not lacking in demand, yet their greens fee is still over $400 (finite supply). Phoenix area golf is the perfect example. During winter, when demand is through the roof, prices skyrocket. During the summer, when the snowbirds return home, prices plummet. In mature, competitive industries like golf, price rises/falls to match supply with demand.

 

Golf has plenty of demand to gain all the economies of scale it can. Innovation is at a standstill given the current rules thus the call for ideas to "change" the game.

 

I don't know.  I am now thinking any increase in customers would lead to a price increase.  Your example speaks to it.  At times when courses have more customers, like summer, weekends, mornings, etc., the price is much higher.  

 

I think I just talked myself out of this initiative.

post #75 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post
 

 

I don't know.  I am now thinking any increase in customers would lead to a price increase.  Your example speaks to it.  At times when courses have more customers, like summer, weekends, mornings, etc., the price is much higher.  

 

I think I just talked myself out of this initiative.

Think there are 2 areas that come under this topic: 

Equipment being one, and Green Fee's, Cost of Golf (Membership etc) being the other: 

 

1. Equipment: and in particular the possibility of new "Hack Golf" equipment, this won't have much of an impact to the regular golfer unless they decide to change codes or play both. But for the average Joe, it just presents the opportunity to spend more playing golf.

 

2. Cost of Green Fees/Membership: 

I can only speak of the Golf Market in Ireland, I think there are similarities and the laws of economics should hold true. 

In Ireland, Golf has never been as cheap. We have an oversupply of courses and coupled with the economic downturn the prices Golf Courses/Clubs charge have plummeted. 

It's a race to the bottom to get the what golfing money is left out there. 

We are getting to the stage were Courses are closing down now at an increasing rate, this will probably get worse before it gets better.

All this means that the price of golf has gone down dramatically, golf clubs can't really really on increasing costs in a downturn so the only option is to lower them and hope that they are part of the lucky ones that make it through.

 

So over the next 5 years or so, the supply of golf (courses closing) in Ireland is expected to fall by 10-20%. 

Once we get to this stage I expect that the courses lucky enough to have survived will then by in the position to gradually start to increase prices again. 

 

At present it's a golfers market, with the closure of 10-20% of courses in 5-10 years, the power starts to shift back to the courses as demand begins to match, or overtake, the limited supply. 

 

I certainly don't know how anyone can argue that more demand will mean lower costs being passed onto the golfer. 

It doesn't work like that. 

post #76 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post
 

 

I don't know.  I am now thinking any increase in customers would lead to a price increase.  Your example speaks to it.  At times when courses have more customers, like summer, weekends, mornings, etc., the price is much higher.  

 

I think I just talked myself out of this initiative.

 

Just from what I see (very unscientific) as these courses start losing business and they lower prices and membership fees in a futile attempt to draw in more players.

 

The few players remaining there love it at first. They are thinking wow this is great! Cheaper prices and less players. Then they begin to notice that fewer and fewer of the players are young people anymore. Nobody around to take Harry's place that had a stroke last month and looks like Sam won't be back for quite a while either after his heart surgery.

 

They tell stories about how much fun it used to be back when 30 people played in the daily game every day, and how high the level of play was with all of the young guns in the game, and the old guys that didn't want to lose to any of them (and didn't a surprising number of times).

 

Then a couple of years later when the course is in bankruptcy, and eventually closed down, the former members are wondering what just happened to their playground. Then their only choice is to drive farther from home to play which ends up costing more and they can't afford play as often. Since the daily game they loved and played in for so many years is now gone they end up playing less and less until some of them rarely play at all.


Edited by MS256 - 2/10/14 at 1:05pm
post #77 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgreen85 View Post

Apple doesn't want new customers? It seems like you're saying Apple is more a Titleist going against Samsung a Taylormade, rather than Apple competing in computing/gadget/discretionary spending industry.

Everyone has a cell phone, so everyone is a potential new customer to apple. Golf doesn't have hooks into the masses, they are trying to draw people in. There is no similarity between the 2.
post #78 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

I guess we'll just have to disagree, maybe because we form out opinions in different parts of the country.  Golf boomed in the '90s, and now it's in correction mode with reality catching up.  There certainly isn't any shortage of players anywhere I've played in my home state of Colorado, or in Idaho when I visit my brother.

I would disagree with your assessment in CO. The amount of players have decreased significantly in metro Denver area as evidenced by how easy it is now to just walk on as a single compared to a few yrs ago.
post #79 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJim View Post

Yes, perhaps golf isn't growing the way it was ten years ago when the economy was better and there was more optimism for the future, but golf will survive even if it isn't dumbed down to the level of tic tac toe.

 

I'm sure golf will survive, but what it may well become is a return to the "Greatest Game Ever Played" movie era ... unaffordable to the masses and an elite country club activity for the rich.    I don't know if we'll see this in our lifetimes, but without young people embracing the game, I could see it happening.     Heck, in my neck of the woods, 3 public courses have closed doors in the past few years (I wouldn't be surprised at all to see 2 or 3 more closing in my area).      It's tough turning a profit for a golf course today ...

post #80 of 114
Not sure how much relative importance this would have to the decline (and its based strictly on unsubstantiated observation on my part), but I've also noticed a significate reduction in the amount of "corporate" related golf since I've returned to the game. Sure, I still see a good number of company outings, but it just doesn't seem to be anywhere near what it used to be when I started playing back in the late 80's, early 90's. I'm in banking and when I started out my career many moons ago it was almost a given that you had to play golf, particularly if your job entailed any sort of direct customer contact. Most banks in the area had memberships to some farily elite country clubs (or reimbursed executives for their country club dues) and clients were taken out regularly. Heck (and not to stereotype) but I even recall the company I was working for at the time paying to get the women in our department lessons so they wouldn't be left out. Nowadays it almost seems frowned upon unless its a client sponsored fundraising event. Again, not saying this in it of itself has had any substantive impact, but (in my mind at least) it does seem to at least reflect a shift in where companies and/or people are willing to spend their dollars these days.
post #81 of 114

Golf does need to make some changes to attract youth, but the entire premise of why many avid golfers love the game is what keeps the audience shrinking. The challenge and continued work that leads to improvement. Its not like a videogame where you can significantly improve over a week of constant playing.

 

I am 23 and a part of the videogame/instant gratification generation and I understand these trends, but to neuder Golf like that would ruin the game. Even the idea of creating clubs that don't fit the rules scares me. There isn't 2 sizes of footballs, or basketballs (other than the youth sizes). Everyone plays the same equipment.

 

At the same time I don't have any real solutions to bring to the table. Very tough dilemma for Golf, but I would HATE to see increasing the size of the hole or creating easier clubs be the answer.

post #82 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by kw purp View Post
 

Golf does need to make some changes to attract youth, but the entire premise of why many avid golfers love the game is what keeps the audience shrinking. The challenge and continued work that leads to improvement. Its not like a videogame where you can significantly improve over a week of constant playing.

 

I am 23 and a part of the videogame/instant gratification generation and I understand these trends, but to neuder Golf like that would ruin the game. Even the idea of creating clubs that don't fit the rules scares me. There isn't 2 sizes of footballs, or basketballs (other than the youth sizes). Everyone plays the same equipment.

 

At the same time I don't have any real solutions to bring to the table. Very tough dilemma for Golf, but I would HATE to see increasing the size of the hole or creating easier clubs be the answer.


Nobody is talking about neutering the game. Anybody seriously playing the game would play it as they always did.

 

No different than softball, or flag football, or lowering the rims in basketball. I know people that do all three of those and have a blast doing it. 

 

I personally wouldn't go as far as anything drastic with clubs and wouldn't increase the hole size. Not sure how the hole size would work out anyway but maybe there's a way.

 

Things we did all the time that wouldn't meet the approval of purists: 

 

Got my wife a set of clubs that are all hybrids, even down to the sand wedge.

 

Had her skip her tee shot on very long holes.

 

Told her to just pick it up if she is messing up a hole with people behind us.

 

She could enjoy the game just from the good shots she happened to hit or the good holes she happened to play without having full blowups and bogging the course down.

 

Now it's getting to the point where she can play a round legitimately on most courses. If it hadn't been for us encouraging her to play by our silly rules I'm sure she would have quit playing before she improved enough to enjoy it. Some of us are going to hang in there and take it as a challenge no matter how hard it is but other people try it and move on to something easier.

post #83 of 114

I am an 18 HCP and when I someday shoot below an 84 I want to do it playing golf.  I honestly don't care if dumbed down golf courses are built, but it will not be golf.  People can do whatever they like such as play miniature golf or pitch and putt and if they have a good time everyone is happy.  But I cannot imagine any full length golf course making a serious attempt to change the game that is played on it and expect to survive financially.  The biggest problem with golf popularity is $$ and time, of which many people have less than 1998.

post #84 of 114

Working in a proshop part time, the reasons we hear from people who say they are playing less golf have to do with time or money. Here in Miami, there is no inexpensive golf. Where I work is about the cheapest game in town and at $33 for a weekday and $45 for a weekend round, that's still not an easy amount of money for a new golfer or someone on a tight budget to come up with on their own. Many places around here charge 4-5 times what we do, with the expected course condition and clubhouse amenities available.

 

I know there are reasonable arguments for the larger hole, but I don't personally support it. Someone early in the thread mentioned 2 holes, one large and one regular on the same green. I don't know. I'd have to see that in operation to decide how it would work. Needless to say,m to the owner, it means paying for twice the equipment, special hole cutters and cup liners.

 

If people want to play golf, but don't have time, courses need to promote 9 hole rounds, make their financially attractive and stagger players on to the front 9 and back 9 in ways that let everyone play as quickly as possible. Course designers need to consider ways to have courses return to the clubhouse area in the middle of each 9 holes so things like 6 hole or 12 hole rounds could be offered. I use those numbers just as examples, not with any specific reason behind them. It could vary from course to course... 9 holes on the front, but 4 holes on the back looping back to the clubhouse and the 18th in another loop coming back.

 

Course maintenance is getting more and more expensive and I understand the owners are in business to make money. The attitude at Killian Greens, where I work, is rather European to some extent. Mother Nature determines much to do with the condition of the course. We are more plush during the summer when we get more rain. We are a bit more hard and fast in the winter when we get some amount of drought. Many courses are afraid to try this method. Many courses don't have a choice because they depend on a tourist trade with very high expectations for extremely well maintained courses. Personally, I don't recall anyone I've ever talked to saying how much they enjoyed a golf course because it had the more gorgeous tee boxes they'd ever seen. If a course economizes everywhere around the course, but provides good greens that are visible for the shot into the green and provide a fair roll for the effort made, people are happy with the course.

 

I've heard arguments in favor of letting 5 or 6 people play together. Some contend 5 or 6 can play ready golf as quickly as a foursome. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've seen enough proof to believe walkers can play as fast as riders, but I'm not sure about more people together...

 

An argument I believe might work to save time for players on the course and owners money to boot is to eliminate a lot of sand traps. Sand isn't cheap and poorly built bunkers that get rock hard are time wasters. Proponents of this idea claim people take longer to settle in and swing because they don't know what to do in a hard bunker. When they blade the ball 100 yards across the green, the walk to their ball and another shot takes more time than if they took 2 or 3 to get out of a well maintained bunker... BUT... if a bunker was elimated and what remained was a grass bunker with the depression in the ground, a bunker lip, maybe some deeper grass in it... That's a pretty challenging hazard for most people and could be played faster, maintained faster and cheaper, but still provide definition to the green as a target.

 

I could go on and on...

post #85 of 114

If I had to pay $45 per round, I'd be out. Just limits to the ole budget. I'm really happy to live where I do on that account.

post #86 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisMiller View Post
 

 

An argument I believe might work to save time for players on the course and owners money to boot is to eliminate a lot of sand traps. Sand isn't cheap and poorly built bunkers that get rock hard are time wasters. Proponents of this idea claim people take longer to settle in and swing because they don't know what to do in a hard bunker. When they blade the ball 100 yards across the green, the walk to their ball and another shot takes more time than if they took 2 or 3 to get out of a well maintained bunker... BUT... if a bunker was elimated and what remained was a grass bunker with the depression in the ground, a bunker lip, maybe some deeper grass in it... That's a pretty challenging hazard for most people and could be played faster, maintained faster and cheaper, but still provide definition to the green as a target.

 

I could go on and on...

That is the direction a lot of courses around this area are taking. More and more former sand bunkers are now grass bunkers.

 

If I could snap my fingers and invent one thing that I think would make the game more enjoyable for relatively new golfers (like my wife) it would be to come up with a special golf ball that would go farther and straighter so they could play along with better golfers more equally. The most frustrating things for my wife at first were holes where she had absolutely no chance to reach in regulation and sometimes even in a shot over regulation.

 

I don't know if such a ball could be invented but I'm sure my wife, and lots of other beginners, would use them. Another benefit would be that many of the better golfers that I know (that currently don't want to, and will not, play with beginners) might not mind as much if the beginners could keep up a little better.

 

Maybe even a progressive series of golf balls for different skill levels?

post #87 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanadiens View Post
 

If I had to pay $45 per round, I'd be out. Just limits to the ole budget. I'm really happy to live where I do on that account.


Believe me, I understand. I'm retired and on a bit of a budget. I can play free because I work at the course, but if I didn't, I'd probably only play once a month or so. The alternative is to play what they call around here "Twilight Golf." After 2 PM, our rate goes down to $26. It includes a cart, but you aren't guaranteed to get in 18 holes and there are no rain checks. During the summer, it starts at 3 PM, but you have more time to get in a full 18 hole round if you can be there at 3 PM. The problem is, if you don't arrive until 5 PM, it's crowded enough that you probably can't finish.

 

The other thing is, if I didn't get to play free at our course, which is, to use the common phrase, a cow pasture by comparison to many places around here, I'd rather play elsewhere.

 

Miami Springs is a personal favorite even though it's fairly far from my house. The City of Miami owns it and they charge a very fair rate, about $50 for a senior like me. It's right by MIami International Airport, so it takes a while to get used to the constant sound of jets taking off. The course is a really interesting layout always in good condition, particularly the greens. It used to host a PGA event, the Miami Open, back in the 30s, 40s and 50s. It's fun to see the names of famous professionals on the trophys in the clubhouse and think you are walking the same ground they did.

 

On the other hand, there is Biltmore, a county owned course. It has the same kind of history, but they have a very high opinion of themselves and greens fees, even for locals, are in the $100 range at the best of time. There are occasional deals on Golf Now, but I'm told they get snapped up within a minute of being posted. I've spent 6 hours getting around that course long ago when it was more affordable.

 

Right around the corner from me is Micosukkee Country Club, owned by the Indian tribe. Until a couple years ago, the Nationwide Tour held their last tournament of the year there and it's a good course with 27 holes, so you can mix and match from day to day. They have gotten expensive since the tribe bought it, but with no improvements of any kind.

 

Even the Doral courses, other than the Blue, are competatively priced compared to some country clubs who let the public play them. More times than not, it's worth the hour each way and a few gallons of gas to go to Broward County, (the Ft. Lauderdale area), and play places like Inverrary or Jacaranda. They each have 36 holes, are in great condition and they act like they are glad to see you. Plantation Preserve is my favorite up there. It's a wonderful course with all kinds of mind bending options to fly or run the ball into the greens. It's better kept than anywhere I've even been and you feel guilty about taking a divot. The place looks like an exclusive country club and the prices are fair. If I ever moved to Broward County, that would be my home course. The point is, for $50-$70, there are places who really give you a great time and you feel like you got your moneys worth. Some, not so much.

post #88 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
Maybe even a progressive series of golf balls for different skill levels?

I think Jack Nicklaus proposed something like that years ago and his new golf ball line tends to adtertise their compressions in ways that are directed at skill levels.

 

Growing up, I remember there were 3 balls from each manufacturer. Titleist, for example, had a red name and number for a low compression ball aimed at women to use. We used to use it in cold weather too. Their 90 compression ball for the masses was a black name and red number. Their 100 compression ball for better players was a black name and black number. Maxfli did the same thing. Spaulding Dots were colored similarly... I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting.

 

Just for the sake of discussion, what would be to keep some young person with a good game from using the ball intended to go farther and straighter? Isn't that what we all want anyway and what the ball manufacturers are trying to convince they are offering us already? Personally,I have ball speed, spin, launch angle overload.

 

I kind of feel I'm lucky. At 64, I honestly can't find much difference in the performance of a Pro V1 versus a Pinnacle. I do feel a slightly softer feel on half shots with better balls, but $47 a dozen for Pro V1s versus $14 for a box of 15 Pinnacles is a pretty easy decision.

post #89 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 

That is the direction a lot of courses around this area are taking. More and more former sand bunkers are now grass bunkers.

 

If I could snap my fingers and invent one thing that I think would make the game more enjoyable for relatively new golfers (like my wife) it would be to come up with a special golf ball that would go farther and straighter so they could play along with better golfers more equally. The most frustrating things for my wife at first were holes where she had absolutely no chance to reach in regulation and sometimes even in a shot over regulation.

 

I don't know if such a ball could be invented but I'm sure my wife, and lots of other beginners, would use them. Another benefit would be that many of the better golfers that I know (that currently don't want to, and will not, play with beginners) might not mind as much if the beginners could keep up a little better.

 

Maybe even a progressive series of golf balls for different skill levels?

the golf ball thing isnt a bad idea. when one of my kids want to play we me ill either play a par 3 course and take the time to work on some thing or if im at a regular size course ill move them up to the 200 yrd marker and star them from there. it takes some of the challenge out of it and they dont hold everyone up as long.

post #90 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisMiller View Post
 

Just for the sake of discussion, what would be to keep some young person with a good game from using the ball intended to go farther and straighter?

 

Isn't that what we all want anyway and what the ball manufacturers are trying to convince they are offering us already?

1. If you are talking about sneaking a beginner's ball into competition...Uhm. Because it would be illegal. If that's a concern make them a different color.

 

2. Maybe so, and maybe a beginner's ball like I'm talking about can't be invented. I have no clue if it's really been tried since there would be no specification requirements for such a ball. It theoretically could be any size, weight, or composition because it's a non-conforming ball.

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