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Has golf's demise been greatly exaggerated? - Page 3

post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanadiens View Post

One thing a course near me does is set aside Sunday evening for families. They put the big holes in on the front nine for the kids and let em have at it for a few hours at a pretty cheap price. 

See I think that is a great idea, gets more kids involved in playing and grows the game.
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

How about this scenario. What about a golf course that was charging several hundreds of dollars, a few years ago to golf there, that is now charging less than $100 to golf?  Would that not be considered a down turn? What about "private courses" that are now open to the public? In both instances, those changes were made to keep more golfers on those types of courses. 

 

Do I know any one who does not golf anymore, or a lot less due to economics? I could name 4 or 5, but they are retirees who are on fixed incomes. Their new incomes are much lower than what they made when working. Every year a sizeable group of golfers enter into a lower income bracket because of retirement. Are they being replaced with younger, higher income folks? 

Interesting point.... I wonder how much of a factor the baby-boomer generation is in this regard. They are steadily entering into the retirement/disability age now, which could very well contribute to a perceived decline. 

post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by colin007 View Post

Directly from the starter.

That crabby old man? I'm not sure I'd believe him, haha.
post #40 of 46

To me most things in life have a cyclical nature to them.

 

Lots of commentaries on how tough the game is, how expensive it is, how long it takes, how the younger generation is not interested as it is viewed as an old man's sport, how it is link to the economy etc.

 

Unless I missed it I have not noted a link to the affects of the baby boomers.

 

Baby boomers are generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964. That would make them between 68 and 50.

 

The largest portion of the boomers were born between 1946 and 1956. So they are between the ages of 68 and 58.

 

Boomers have had a significant affect on our economy, residential and vacation homes, travel ... well just about everything.

 

The cruise ship industry is fearing a slow down. A good chunk of it is due to the economy but I suggest that the boomers have also had some affect. As the front end of the boomers got into their 50's they had the wealth and time to travel more. That would have been 20 years ago. This increase demand lead to lot more cruise ships being built. But building ships take years of lead time. Now that the front end of the boomers are heading into their 70's, their health will not allow them to travel as much. Will there be enough of the next generation to take their place? Will their be an excess of capacity?

 

I think golf has also had a similar cycle. In Vancouver the most exclusive private golf club (Shaughnessy, Point Grey, Vancouver Club, Capilano, Marine Drive) initial fees hovered around $30k to $50k all the way up to the late 90's and then they increase dramatically to where they are $65k to $100k up to 3 years ago. Now we are seeing some backing down of the fees due to lack of demand.

 

When I was starting out in golf in the mid 90's I could not get weekend tee times period. There were not enough golf courses to met the demand.

 

Due to the size of the boomer population even it the same percentage of golfers were entering the game as before, it would result in more actual gross number of people.

 

Golf course owners saw the large demand and the fact they could charge a premium daily fee because the boomers were in the 40s and 50s their prime earning stage.

 

So lots of new expensive daily fee courses were built in our area (Westwood Plateau, Chateau Whistler, Big Sky, Nicklaus North, Morgan Creek etc) and all over North America.

 

Golf equipment manufacturers began to cater to the larger wealthy golf population by offering new clubs and accessories every year and charging a premium for their gear.

 

Now a large portion of the boomers are in their mid to late 60's and due to various injuries or age they cannot play as much golf. Combine that with the large number of courses that came online in the last 10 years to cater to them and we start to see supply exceeding demand.

 

So immediately everyone is running around like chicken little and stating the demise of golf is near and we have got to change the game with larger holes etc.

 

I think that even if there is the same percentage of new golfers entering the game now versus 15 years ago, it will never be as large in gross numbers now because of the baby boom affect.

 

I think golf with be just fine. Please don't change to larger holes. That will likely make more of us avid golfers leave the game.

 

PS ... in the 30 minutes that it took me to write this I just noticed that "divot dave" made the same point in two sentences!

post #41 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFKFREAK View Post

That crabby old man? I'm not sure I'd believe him, haha.

Lol, he's not that bad. At least not as bad as the jankholes at ToC....
post #42 of 46

This echoes some of the other ideas here, but in general I think golf is in a contraction (not decline though) because:

 

1 -  Market demand was higher and courses were overbuilt.   Higher end courses are going to feel it bad when rounds are down.

2 -  Tiger Woods hasn't been as dominant.  I do think that we can attribute a bit of golf's growth to him.  However I think a lot of people tried it and didn't stick with it and that surge hasn't maintained.  I hope those people still watch golf and enjoy it, but many are probably causal players at best.

3 -  Economy contacting in 2008.   Even people who didn't lose money or jobs were worried about finances and I think people cut back.

4 -  The game is hard.  And there are a lot of alternatives.  Especially for the amount of time it takes to play.  These do discourage people a lot.   

5 -  Golf companies like TM over saturated high end items and their profits taking a hit gets taken out of proportion.  Yes, the club industry taking a hit is bad.   But that doesn't translate to courses being hurt.

 

And something that I should add as well.  I think today's world has changed where it's harder for courses and club manufacturers to make money like they used to.   The secondary market for clubs hits the club manufacturers so they keep prices higher and market that you need clubs every year.   I can see where this hurts them, and while I support the secondary market I also think that people have to bear in mind that companies spend on R&D and have to make payroll.   So while it's great to get deals, it does have an impact.

 

Also, courses are having issues as well, I am sure.   It's great to have golf now and other sites that discount tee times, but technology and things like that also drive down what the courses make.   If you have to discount greens fees because others in your market are doing so, then you make less money.

 

I'm 100% in support of secondary markets like eBay and services that discount tee times because they help people and get more people playing and involved, but there is a cost.   I think that golf companies should be stretching their release cycles and concentrating on making really good upgrades over a longer cycle, which benefits them (more long term sales** for a higher price, but less frequently) and consumers would as well because the next product is a bigger jump.     

 

For courses, getting people there at a discount and having a nice facility will get more traffic and people coming back if they like it.  They'll probably pay more the second or third time***.   

 

 

** Sadly this is not how most businesses function.

 

*** Sadly this is not how some people function.

post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by colin007 View Post

Lol, he's not that bad. At least not as bad as the jankholes at ToC....

Haha, the folks at TOC are usually pretty cool with me.
post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by imsys0042 View Post
 

This echoes some of the other ideas here, but in general I think golf is in a contraction (not decline though) because:

 

1 -  Market demand was higher and courses were overbuilt.   Higher end courses are going to feel it bad when rounds are down.

2 -  Tiger Woods hasn't been as dominant.  I do think that we can attribute a bit of golf's growth to him.  However I think a lot of people tried it and didn't stick with it and that surge hasn't maintained.  I hope those people still watch golf and enjoy it, but many are probably causal players at best.

3 -  Economy contacting in 2008.   Even people who didn't lose money or jobs were worried about finances and I think people cut back.

4 -  The game is hard.  And there are a lot of alternatives.  Especially for the amount of time it takes to play.  These do discourage people a lot.  

5 -  Golf companies like TM over saturated high end items and their profits taking a hit gets taken out of proportion.  Yes, the club industry taking a hit is bad.   But that doesn't translate to courses being hurt.

 

And something that I should add as well.  I think today's world has changed where it's harder for courses and club manufacturers to make money like they used to.   The secondary market for clubs hits the club manufacturers so they keep prices higher and market that you need clubs every year.   I can see where this hurts them, and while I support the secondary market I also think that people have to bear in mind that companies spend on R&D and have to make payroll.   So while it's great to get deals, it does have an impact.

 

Also, courses are having issues as well, I am sure.   It's great to have golf now and other sites that discount tee times, but technology and things like that also drive down what the courses make.   If you have to discount greens fees because others in your market are doing so, then you make less money.

 

I'm 100% in support of secondary markets like eBay and services that discount tee times because they help people and get more people playing and involved, but there is a cost.   I think that golf companies should be stretching their release cycles and concentrating on making really good upgrades over a longer cycle, which benefits them (more long term sales** for a higher price, but less frequently) and consumers would as well because the next product is a bigger jump.    

 

For courses, getting people there at a discount and having a nice facility will get more traffic and people coming back if they like it.  They'll probably pay more the second or third time***.  

 

 

** Sadly this is not how most businesses function.

 

*** Sadly this is not how some people function.

You make a number of great points.  eBay and the other used equipment companies take a nice chunk of revenue from the golf club manufacturers.  TM and Callaway have tried to offset the losses to secondary markets by shortening their product life cycles, offering trade-in deals and selling pre-owned clubs directly but I'm not sure it's been as successful for them as they'd like.

 

The problem is, TM, Callaway, Nike, Cobra and Adams have ramped up R&D, manufacturing and marketing to support short product life cycles (6 months - 1 year).  Implementing longer product life cycles would likely impact revenue, profit and result in cost reductions such as layoffs.  Titleist, Ping and Mizuno will be less impacted because they have maintained the same product life cycles (1 - 2 years) even during golf's boom time.

 

TM is already complaining about decreased revenue and profit.  If something major doesn't change they will likely have to make some major adjustments to how they do business.

post #45 of 46

NO IT HASN'T!!! golf became trendy in the 90's with tiger crushing everything. i enjoy golf now but truthfully its a long walk broken up by a bunch of stops to twist look skyward and continue walking (sometimes while swearing to yourself) its expensive, its way to time consuming and its expensive! oh yeah and most of the people in country clubs are snobs so that works against it too!!! golf is a pretty dumb sport but if you like the personal challenge it can be great! the usga and the r&a also need a face lift. too many rules too many sub rules and too many rules that nobody understands or need to be changed! 

post #46 of 46
Maybe golf is just getting back to normal...
There was was a boom, it's popularity increased immensely, but like most fads, (not that golf is a fad!!) they lose their appeal, or get replaced, and now normality is resuming?
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