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HBO Real Sports: The Downturn in the Golf Industry

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

Anybody planning to watch this?  It looks interesting to me.

 

HBO Real Sports: The Downturn in the Golf Industry

HBO Sports 2:35 mins

 

Host Bryant Gumbel speaks with industry leaders, including Jack Nicklaus, the most decorated golfer of all time, about the state of the sport. Real Sports debuts Tues., July 22 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO.

post #2 of 45

Let us know what they conclude.

 

http://sports.yahoo.com/video/hbo-real-sports-downturn-golf-050000729.html

 

EDIT: Just watched it. 15" holes, foot golf, and "night club" driving ranges.

post #3 of 45

No need to watch it. The down turn (imo) is directly related to the cost of play, cost of equipment, cost of instruction, and the various other costs of operating a golf course. In other words people today are watching their money more closely, and golf has fallen down the list of an affordable past time for quite a few folks. With the drought in the southwest being as bad as it is, and water conservation being what it is, and will be, golf course maintenance is going to rise exponentially with the dry weather.

 

Plus, let's not forget there are still a lot of folks out of work who probably use to golf on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Quite a few of those who went back to work, may be working at a lower paying job that does  not allow them to afford to golf anymore. 

 

With fewer folks golfing, those of us who can still afford to golf will eventually see our green fees rise. Some who can now just barely afford to golf, might have to give up the game in the not so far off future to have money for other things.  

 

 I golf at some pretty nice golf courses where 18 holes with a cart are under $50 a round. Those same courses 10 years ago were under $40 for 18 holes. I can play at a real nice course for $28.00 a round if I want to drive 65 miles. (130 RT)  At $3.89 a gallon for gas that's another $20.00 I need to add into the mix. I also can still treat myself to more expensive courses when ever I get a hankering to do so too. However, regardless of the  18 hole price, I always seem to play to the same score. At $0.50 a stroke, or $3.65 a stroke, it does not take much brain matter to figure out the economics of the game, and it's impact on my pocket book.  

post #4 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

No need to watch it. The down turn (imo) is directly related to the cost of play, cost of equipment, cost of instruction, and the various other costs of operating a golf course. In other words people today are watching their money more closely, and golf has fallen down the list of an affordable past time for quite a few folks. With the drought in the southwest being as bad as it is, and water conservation being what it is, and will be, golf course maintenance is going to rise exponentially with the dry weather.

 

Plus, let's not forget there are still a lot of folks out of work who probably use to golf on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Quite a few of those who went back to work, may be working at a lower paying job that does  not allow them to afford to golf anymore. 

 

With fewer folks golfing, those of us who can still afford to golf will eventually see our green fees rise. Some who can now just barely afford to golf, might have to give up the game in the not so far off future to have money for other things.  

 

 I golf at some pretty nice golf courses where 18 holes with a cart are under $50 a round. Those same courses 10 years ago were under $40 for 18 holes. I can play at a real nice course for $28.00 a round if I want to drive 65 miles. (130 RT)  At $3.89 a gallon for gas that's another $20.00 I need to add into the mix. I also can still treat myself to more expensive courses when ever I get a hankering to do so too. However, regardless of the  18 hole price, I always seem to play to the same score. At $0.50 a stroke, or $3.65 a stroke, it does not take much brain matter to figure out the economics of the game, and it's impact on my pocket book.  

 

I was watching Mark Crossfield playing a links course on a video. It looks like fun. The fairways and everything else is "natural" while on the greens are maintained. This might be an option for people out here.

 

The other possibility is artificial turf surrounded by desert or chaparral or whatever natural growth is on the course. This will dramatically reduce the water use and the energy used to maintain the course. It will take a lot more hand work for the greens keepers, but it seems logical.

 

I could see an upturn if we can make golf faster and cheaper (like Mark King has been stating), but also maintaining the traditional difficulty of a course for the better golfers.

post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

No need to watch it. The down turn (imo) is directly related to the cost of play, cost of equipment, cost of instruction, and the various other costs of operating a golf course.

 

Seeing as how only about 14% of golfers have ever gotten official instruction, I say "no" to that one.

 

And you left out "time to play."

post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Seeing as how only about 14% of golfers have ever gotten official instruction, I say "no" to that one.

And you left out "time to play."

14% is something like 4% more than those with official handicaps?

That's much lower than I would have guessed.

Interesting, I wonder why?
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

No need to watch it. The down turn (imo) is directly related to the cost of play, cost of equipment, cost of instruction, and the various other costs of operating a golf course. In other words people today are watching their money more closely, and golf has fallen down the list of an affordable past time for quite a few folks. With the drought in the southwest being as bad as it is, and water conservation being what it is, and will be, golf course maintenance is going to rise exponentially with the dry weather.

 

Plus, let's not forget there are still a lot of folks out of work who probably use to golf on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Quite a few of those who went back to work, may be working at a lower paying job that does  not allow them to afford to golf anymore. 

 

 

I would say cost of the game, and how hard the game is. Most people don't want to spend the extra time and effort to improve in their game. I think golfers would do better if they played 9 hole rounds more often, and walk the course more often if available (heck use a push cart). 

 

I agree that more has to be done to make golf courses more sustainable. I loved what Pinehurst #2 did. I think golf courses should go with more natural grass that doesn't need to be watered all the time, or mowed down. I don't mind a little burnt out course condition as long as the greens and tee boxes are in good shape. 

post #8 of 45

I think a lot of people go into it after watching the pros on TV thinking they can get that good if they play enough. It looks so simple on the tube. They figure out golf is hard and are too proud to get instruction. Secondly, guys seem to be afraid of their wives for some reason these days. All too often, the reason I hear for someone not playing is the lack of a kitchen pass.

post #9 of 45

I was forever before I finally started playing and now sort of feel like I missed out on a lot. 

 

To someone who has never played golf looks: 1) intimidatingly difficult, 2) potentially embarrassing and 3) massively expensive. I had to have a friend of mine push me on a par-3 to get me to start.

Two years later, I keep thinking I should beat him.

 

The crappy economy has its effect, but getting younger people into the game seems like the biggest problem.It was sort of the premise behind the start-a-golfer thread, but really, the sport does need to find ways to make the game look more friendly to beginners. If someone is bored on a Saturday, they aren't likely to say to themselves "why don't I give this golf a shot". That's where golf has its biggest problems,

post #10 of 45

I have only the cost to play golf increase over the past X number of years (along with the price of everything else). Factor in the time it takes play/practice etc. and you can see why the game is having a hard time attracting new blood. I coach sports in high school and have also seen the numbers decrease there. It easy to be good at a sport on the X box with out having to leave the house and actually go outside.

post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanadiens View Post
 

I was forever before I finally started playing and now sort of feel like I missed out on a lot. 

 

To someone who has never played golf looks: 1) intimidatingly difficult, 2) potentially embarrassing and 3) massively expensive. I had to have a friend of mine push me on a par-3 to get me to start.

Two years later, I keep thinking I should beat him.

 

The crappy economy has its effect, but getting younger people into the game seems like the biggest problem.It was sort of the premise behind the start-a-golfer thread, but really, the sport does need to find ways to make the game look more friendly to beginners. If someone is bored on a Saturday, they aren't likely to say to themselves "why don't I give this golf a shot". That's where golf has its biggest problems,

They might say "Top Golf" looks like fun...  I'm wondering if and when Top Golf surrounds itself with an 18 hole course. We have at least two Top Golf in and around Dallas, and they always seem crowded when I pass them.

post #12 of 45
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lihu View Post

 

I was watching Mark Crossfield playing a links course on a video. It looks like fun. The fairways and everything else is "natural" while on the greens are maintained. This might be an option for people out here.

 

The other possibility is artificial turf surrounded by desert or chaparral or whatever natural growth is on the course. This will dramatically reduce the water use and the energy used to maintain the course. It will take a lot more hand work for the greens keepers, but it seems logical.

 

I could see an upturn if we can make golf faster and cheaper (like Mark King has been stating), but also maintaining the traditional difficulty of a course for the better golfers.

 

It certainly wouldn't hurt if it was possible to change the mindset of the typical player to accept less than pristine conditions between tee and green.  Making all of that fairway and rough stay a deep green is expensive.  Use drought resistant turfgrass that can go yellow or brown in spots without dying so that a course can keep up good playing conditions with 1/2 or 1/3 the water.  Less water means less cost ofr irrigation, and the grass doesn't grow as fast so it doesn't need to be mowed as often.  "Brown is the new green" may well become a necessary reality for golf courses in the near future.

post #13 of 45
Already happening here, just about every newer course is faux links with unmaintained native areas. We have a new head pro at my former home course, though it may become the home course again since I've been playing there quite a bit. Was talking with him last week and they have serious irrigation/water issues even with full ponds on site to use. According to him just getting the water out there is tough. The weather dries everything faster than they can water and algae clogs the heads. We've had rain several days a week and the course is baked out. I'm good with it as long as tee boxes and greens are decent.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

Already happening here, just about every newer course is faux links with unmaintained native areas. We have a new head pro at my former home course, though it may become the home course again since I've been playing there quite a bit. Was talking with him last week and they have serious irrigation/water issues even with full ponds on site to use. According to him just getting the water out there is tough. The weather dries everything faster than they can water and algae clogs the heads. We've had rain several days a week and the course is baked out. I'm good with it as long as tee boxes and greens are decent.

 

That kind of course seems like it could be fun to play. I'd feel a bit less guilty about ruining the fairways that people like @MS256 and @wils5150 keep nice. I'm sure it's more work to maintain, though.

post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

Already happening here, just about every newer course is faux links with unmaintained native areas. We have a new head pro at my former home course, though it may become the home course again since I've been playing there quite a bit. Was talking with him last week and they have serious irrigation/water issues even with full ponds on site to use. According to him just getting the water out there is tough. The weather dries everything faster than they can water and algae clogs the heads. We've had rain several days a week and the course is baked out. I'm good with it as long as tee boxes and greens are decent.

 

The flip side, though is that with unmaintained native areas you may create a pace of play problem as players may have a much more difficulty time finding errant tee shots.  We have to watch out for unintended consequences.

post #16 of 45
It is fun and also challenging if you don't keep the ball on the grass. The native areas are waist deep at my home course, hit it in there and best you can do is take an unplayable. If you dare to go looking for it, the mosquitos are crazy in that stuff. I'd wager I have at least 40 bites on me just being on the short grass in the last couple weeks. Neither of the courses I play most have first cuts of rough, it's just fairway, rough and native areas. Fairways are somewhat wide with just a little rough before the native areas on the sides. Don't have many holes that are side by side so it is everywhere.
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

It is fun and also challenging if you don't keep the ball on the grass. The native areas are waist deep at my home course, hit it in there and best you can do is take an unplayable. If you dare to go looking for it, the mosquitos are crazy in that stuff. I'd wager I have at least 40 bites on me just being on the short grass in the last couple weeks. Neither of the courses I play most have first cuts of rough, it's just fairway, rough and native areas. Fairways are somewhat wide with just a little rough before the native areas on the sides. Don't have many holes that are side by side so it is everywhere.


Look out for ticks! That's what I don't like about the "native area" concept... more native critters.

post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlSpackler View Post
 


Look out for ticks! That's what I don't like about the "native area" concept... more native critters.

 

True and funny.

 

Your area might not have any irrigation issues like we do out in the southwestern region, and if I find myself in the mid-west I would treat myself to a nice pruned and manicured golf course.

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