Since this discussion has morphed into why golf is "shrinking," just some thoughts from someone completely new to the game.
Brown Coast is hitting on golf's image problem. Golf has always been seen as a game for rich white guys. Whether that is fair or not, there are certain things which feed that image. The $500 club, for example. I look at $500 and see a car payment or half the mortgage payment or two months of power and water. Someone like me is never going to spend $500 for a club, EVER. And I agree with BC about the whole thing. Why in the world would a single golf club ever cost $500?
Cost for a round is another example. http://golfcrandon.com/rates/ So those are the rates at Crandon. Again, a person like me is looking at that $30 9-hole twilight rate and thinking that might be something I could do a couple times a month. It would be easy to say that, playing no more often than that and no more holes than that, why bother at all? And I think there are a lot of people who see it that way.
But mostly it's the economy. There are still too many people out of work, or working a bad job, or working extra hours off the clock trying to keep the job they have. Who has time for golf? Who would dare take a day off work to play a round? Only rich guys. And there we go again, feeding the image that golf is only for some people and not for everyone. I mean, why do you think every third world country on the planet has a great soccer team? Because all you need is a patch of dirt and a ball. Golf is a game that requires more AND more expensive equipment, larger space to play, and other things which put it out of a lot of people's affordable recreation budget.
So it's a lot of things, but it's a cycle. Once the economy is truly stable again, more people will play golf again. And it will help as more courses and more golfers themselves come up with new ideas and promotions that introduce new players.