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Golf is a dying. How to make it more popular! - Page 4

post #55 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardballs View Post

Is golf really dying? Not where I live it isn't! We have 8 courses within a 6 mile radius, 3 x championship links courses inc Royal Lytham, (British open) and a mix of private and municipal, all of which are busy! As far as I'm concerned, I don't feel a need for an influx of new players, I already have to book early for a desired tee time! And as for 15" holes, football golf, and any other wacky stupid idea, can't see that happening round here, there's more than enough golfers who'll not wanting any of that nonesense!

From what I understand golf across the world is doing very well, esp Asia. Good to hear it's fine in the UK as well.

The problem is in the US where I believe the economy is the chief culprit. Seems as though the states where the economy is doing well, golf follows suit, and vice versa.
post #56 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther View Post


From what I understand golf across the world is doing very well, esp Asia. Good to hear it's fine in the UK as well.

The problem is in the US where I believe the economy is the chief culprit. Seems as though the states where the economy is doing well, golf follows suit, and vice versa.


A pretty good micro level example of that is the county where I live. Throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s the sock industry ruled this county. Times were booming and money was flowing. It didn't even matter if you worked in the sock industry or not you benefitted from the money locally available. Almost any small business you wanted to start up had a good chance of success.

 

Now the sock mills are all gone and so is the money.

 

Every golf course in the county (where once you had trouble getting a tee time) are now either closed down or walking a fiscal tightrope to stay afloat. Even the country club doesn't have the money to spray their fairways.

 

It even seems to have trickled down to the local high school team. During the boom years they were always one of the better teams in the state with usually a D1 player or two on the team. Now not so much.

 

Money really does matter for any business that depends on discretionary entertainment money. Even a bowling alley and a skating rink closed down.

post #57 of 94

The first observation I'd make is that the sport needs the American game to be healthy, so it's in everyone's interest to see America prosper and it should be a concern when that isn't happening

 

The second observation I'd make is that golf lends itself to playing more than it does watching, and so persuading people to pick a club up and have a go is one of the best recruiting mechanisms 

 

The third observation I'd make on recent experience is that the clubs and some of the golf associations of the US simply don't help themselves. Now admittedly you'll have to allow me some scope to generalise, and not all states carry the same level of attraction, but it can be very hard work getting the very basics of contact communication out of either group. Now admittedly something like 120 - 180 visiting players from Europe playing 5 or 6 rounds each in 2016 is hardly going to turn the tide, so perhaps things are actually much better than you're reporting and they don't need this? To arrest the decline though (if it exists) we need to accumulate a series of positive interventions at all sorts of different levels over a whole range of temporal horizons at all sorts of ability level. If the Americans were prepared to do a little bit of development work with me (some are in fairness - but most can't be bothered) we could make progress. Instead you get continually met with a barrage of voicemail or have your correspondance lobbed into spam folders (often to the embarrasment of the person who gave you the email contact). How do they ever expect to know what's going on and what might be available by way of opportunity? Very few businesses can hope to succeed if they systematically cut themselves off from their potential customers

 

This only really came home to me last Friday when I had to contact the Scottish clubs over some administrative stuff. I'd always regarded America as leading the field in terms of service, but I hadn't realised how poor you'd become, and just how superior the Scots were now. Humans promote golf better than robots do, use them instead of hiding behind so-called 'smart working' (which isn't smart at all). Go back to communicating and you might get a surprise because people will talk back to you

 

Now I won't the name the states concerned, but I don't mind giving a shout out to some of those who've adopted a slightly more engaging and proactive stance as Wisconsin, Maine, Colorado, Delaware, North California, South Carolina and New Jersey, by contrast some have been very disappointing, and these are major golf states too

 

My own observation is that America is losing its way through a series of self inflicted injuries. It's probably been going on for some time, but then a downturn in the economy brought it right home. I do detect a fair amount of complacency though and some pretty tenuous excuses in places

 

Ultimately the success of the next generation of global development is going to come down to China

post #58 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarawayFairways View Post

My own observation is that America is losing its way through a series of self inflicted injuries. It's probably been going on for some time, but then a downturn in the economy brought it right home. I do detect a fair amount of complacency though and some pretty tenuous excuses in places

I, unfortunately, think this is a very fair description of America today.
post #59 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfritchie View Post
 

Maybe to many golf courses were built and the market needed a correction...

 

I'd suggest the golf industry follows closely to the housing market..it crashed a few years back and so did golf. Here in Texas some courses are closing, and they probably should as so many were built in the last 10 years.

 

For the average Joe golf is to expensive and takes to much time, most folks have to play on a weekend when the rates are high and the time commitment is long..much easier to do something else with that $100. Courses need to get creative on getting players back to the game..offer deals on monthly range programs that get a discount for walk play in off hours...once someone is hooked they'll find the money to play.

 

This is exactly the problem - rates are too high on weekends when most guys have time to play.     It's in the golf courses best interest obviously, but will not foster the game for most but the most dedicated.     NJ golf is practically unaffordable on the weekends.    PA golf not so much, I feel for the guys who live in NJ ...

post #60 of 94

The issue of X number of players only being able to fit into Y amount of time in line with bottlenecks isn't going to go away, that's the nature of the way the game is played. Clubs will seek to use the price mechanism to allocate tee times, as more courses close, then supply drops further with the consequence that prices will rise again. A vicious downward spiral. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know though.

 

In terms of cost I'm not sure this one will ever go away. The only thing I would say, is I'm always a little bit skeptical when cost gets invoked as the primary reason. I've seen this happen before in other sports when disenfranchised responders give lazy answers to market research companies. I've also seen the suppliers then react by slashing costs to an absolute minimum and in some cases even offer free access/ tickets, guess what happens? Well not very much in truth. About a 5% rise. It's an inelastic demand. Even when something is laid out on a plate the consumer still can't be bothered because the bottom line is they aren't really that interested

 

America isn't short of money, and although it risks entering a game of onedownmanship, the American tax burden is still about 3 to 4% lower than that faced in Europe, and your average income levels higher in most cases. This tends to be relative to perception however, as people consume according to how they've set their own compass and historic reference points, and its this that leads them into thinking they're being hard done by. There would be millions of American's capable of releasing more personal disposable (as there are people right across the west) if they took a slightly closer look at some of the 'throw away' consumer lifestyles they lead

 

Mind you, New Jersey might be going to get some salvation!!!

 

If these alleged $10 return flights to the UK ever do materialise (Ryanair are supposed to be offering some in the next 6 months - personally, I'm not holding my breath) then you could catch a plane from Newark on Friday evening and be playing the Ryder Cup course at Gleneagles late morning/ early afternoon on Saturday. Get yourself another round the following morning, and then land back in America on Sunday evening a couple of hours after you took off!!! I know some Gleneagles members have been desperately looking for American's to play a Ryder Cup format match against, but so far the 'land of the brave' has proven to be the land of the chicken!!! I should say actually that they've had a better fighting response from NJ than they ever had NY

 

Having said that, I did contact the airline yesterday, and there didn't seem to be much knowledge of these phantom flights (even if their CEO has been hitting the media telling everyone he's going to do them) and I also contacted one of the other airlines named (Norwegian) and was given what I'd regard as a pretty normal transatlantic price. I should also point out that a round or two in Scotland if landing at Edinburgh for somewhere like Gleneagles, St Andrews, Kingsbarns, or Carnoustie, is going to be more expensive than New Jersey, albeit you might take the view that 25% is worth it

 

I digress ...... One thing I am wondering about, and it might interesting to know, is what would be people's first exposure to golf? Probably television would be my guess, followed by a local pitch and putt course? Golf is a playing game. I do wonder if today the inheriting generations first exposure is going to be some hand held game which I doubt will capture any sense of imaginative participation and will always be a pretty tame second to a fast driving or shoot up game

post #61 of 94

Actually ..... I've just read that back, and it occurs to me that the members of golf clubs who are genuinely concerned about the deterioration of the game perhaps need to consider getting stuck into your state golf associations a bit more and demand that they do more to promote the game instead of rolling out the same programmes every year, operating restricted practises in some cases, or just circulating the self regarding newsletters. I'm not saying they're all bad, I don't believe they are, and I think they're probably better than their European counter-parts who hardly seem to engage in any meaningful innovation, but I'd have thought they were a better bet than the PGA who simply don't see beyond the club pro network

post #62 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfritchie View Post
 

Maybe to many golf courses were built and the market needed a correction...

 

I'd suggest the golf industry follows closely to the housing market..it crashed a few years back and so did golf. Here in Texas some courses are closing, and they probably should as so many were built in the last 10 years.

 

For the average Joe golf is to expensive and takes to much time, most folks have to play on a weekend when the rates are high and the time commitment is long..much easier to do something else with that $100. Courses need to get creative on getting players back to the game..offer deals on monthly range programs that get a discount for walk play in off hours...once someone is hooked they'll find the money to play.

 

This is exactly the problem - rates are too high on weekends when most guys have time to play.     It's in the golf courses best interest obviously, but will not foster the game for most but the most dedicated.     NJ golf is practically unaffordable on the weekends.    PA golf not so much, I feel for the guys who live in NJ ...

 

From the point of view of the golf course, rates can only be too high if they drive people away.  As long a course continues to be full on the weekend, then you can extrapolate that the price must not be too high.

post #63 of 94

This may have been said already, but some courses need to make the golf cart fee cheaper. It speeds up the game a bit and it makes weekend golfers/hackers want to come back.

 

post #64 of 94

Man, I don't know....golf seems to be doing well in the states where I mostly play (CT, NJ, PA, MD). Those damn courses are typically packed. My home course was so packed this past week, I wondered why I even joined the place. 

 

I've said it before, the only thing that can really make me quit golf is pace of play.

post #65 of 94

The course was packed yesterday. We finished in < 4 hours too.

 

Maybe I was actually in the twilight zone come to think of it.

post #66 of 94
You know what. I think you just have to make everything more affordable. I have friends who quit playing because they are put off by paying 50 bucks
post #67 of 94

Courses are always busy holiday weekends. I didn't even bother with trying to find a tee time yesterday. My parents called and invited me for 9 a their private clubs and even that was crowded at 4PM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlSpackler View Post
 

The course was packed yesterday. We finished in < 4 hours too.

 

Maybe I was actually in the twilight zone come to think of it.

post #68 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post
 

Courses are always busy holiday weekends. I didn't even bother with trying to find a tee time yesterday. My parents called and invited me for 9 a their private clubs and even that was crowded at 4PM.


True, but courses around here seem to fill a lot of tee times and are not lacking for business. Weather has been a huge factor this spring though.

post #69 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarawayFairways View Post

My own observation is that America is losing its way through a series of self inflicted injuries. It's probably been going on for some time, but then a downturn in the economy brought it right home. I do detect a fair amount of complacency though and some pretty tenuous excuses in places

I, unfortunately, think this is a very fair description of America today.

Hey, the President is doing his part ... seems to be playing golf at every opportunity ;)

post #70 of 94

I echo many of the sentiments here on price and length of play.

 

I would add what for me is the most perplexing thing (at least at the current time). Golf success, as it is measured, is too hard to attain. There needs to be better benchmarks or metrics/analytics for beginner/novice players. There is a huge gap between starting out and getting to be "average". So examples may be breaking 130, breaking 120, breaking 110, getting one or more pars in a single round, getting one or more GIRs in a single round, etc..

 

So the idea is to smooth the measurement curve out. Not the learning curve though. Golf is a hard game and should remain hard. That's not the issue IMHO. The issue is the "expectation" to break 100 or 90 or 80 which all require much much play and practice (years). Dare I say become "scratch". Dan McLaughlin (thedanplan.com), has been practicing/playing every day for 4 years straight (~5,000 hours so far). He is only now at 2.8 handicap (still over par).

post #71 of 94

In terms of generating media interest and new audiences (OK lets call it television) the answer is matchplay and quite possibly Ryder Cup format over two days to be screened foursomes and fourballs on Sat, and singles on Sun for a max of 20 pts

 

Roll that out and you have some possibilities.

 

Matchplay is the games most compelling format. It's reasonably instantaneous (by golf standards) and provides the fastest moving variant available with the greatest swings in fortune and hence drama. It's also the most easily understood and would require the least education of the audience

 

It's going to require the PGA to think imaginatively though, albeit the initiative could come from the USGA yet

 

How about 8 state teams playing off each weekend with a guest pro (or even a dreaded celeb) representing each time. Alternatively you could use city teams as the bonding to an urban area and the rivalries that can develop is stronger amongst the fan base

post #72 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfritchie View Post
 

Maybe to many golf courses were built and the market needed a correction...

 

I'd suggest the golf industry follows closely to the housing market..it crashed a few years back and so did golf. Here in Texas some courses are closing, and they probably should as so many were built in the last 10 years.

 

For the average Joe golf is to expensive and takes to much time, most folks have to play on a weekend when the rates are high and the time commitment is long..much easier to do something else with that $100. Courses need to get creative on getting players back to the game..offer deals on monthly range programs that get a discount for walk play in off hours...once someone is hooked they'll find the money to play.

 

This is exactly the problem - rates are too high on weekends when most guys have time to play.     It's in the golf courses best interest obviously, but will not foster the game for most but the most dedicated.     NJ golf is practically unaffordable on the weekends.    PA golf not so much, I feel for the guys who live in NJ ...

 

From the point of view of the golf course, rates can only be too high if they drive people away.  As long a course continues to be full on the weekend, then you can extrapolate that the price must not be too high.

 

 

I guess so ... people who live in NJ don't know any different - they're used to paying $80-100 to play a round on a weekend.      It's all what you're used to.     I'm fortunate to live on the PA border - everything is much more affordable here...

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