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Why isn't golf attracting more new players?


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  1. 1. What's the major reason golf isn't attracting many new players

    • Economy - disposable income is down
      78
    • A round of golf just takes too long these days
      27
    • Bad image - people think golf is for the old and rich
      14
    • Tiger isn't playing as well as he used to
      5
    • Rules are too complicated
      2
    • Golf clubs are too expensive
      14
    • Greater time demands from family and job
      18
    • USGA is taking the fun out of golf - Anchored stroke ban
      2
    • Golf is too hard and frustrating to play
      23
    • Not enough qualified instructors for kids
      0
    • Lack of public courses in your area
      4
    • Not enough golf ranges in your area
      2
    • Insufficient coverage by mainstream media
      2
    • Fear of playing as single or with strangers
      2
    • Golf is doing fine, there are no problems with it.
      31


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honestly in our area i dont see any lack of players, we did have 2 courses close but that was due to bad managment, to much overhead, or facilitys that needed exstensive repairs. we had 2 local city run munis that had change managment from city to a private company, they have really improve the courses heck i just hit the driving range (bought a new driver at edwin watts tent sale) trying it out and saw the general manager for the course. he mention that they was adding more carts and needed some electrical work done

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I basically live in the golf capital of the Canada, there are more than 25-30 courses within a a hour or so drive in either direction, and we don't actually see any decline in participation, but if ihad to guess why people around this neck of the woods aren't tripping over themselves to golf. Its because golf can be hard if you don't have some athletic ability, and the big one is, the image that golf is for rich snobs who have nothing better to do. I'll admit, that was my thinking before i started golfing, but now that I'm elbow deep in this great game. My perspective has changed ten fold.

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I'm probably a case study.    The reason I never wanted to even try it & waited until I was 46 years old to play (guilted into playing an outing by my boss & thats all it took) was that I knew it would take a serious time commitment to get good at golf & I had plenty of other hobbies that took up my free time.       I've never been interested in doing anything half assed, so I was never willing to try it.      Fast Forward 2 years ...  I've got well over 200 rounds under my belt and barely got my bass boat(s) wet during that time.      Down deep (I've actually said it to friends years ago), I was afraid I'd actually like golf & thats why I never wanted to try it because I knew it would cut into my other hobbies - I've never been so right ...

PS - I do think a round of golf costs too much for the average person, especially if they plan to play alot.    I make good money & still have a very hard time shelling out $40-$50 to play golf.    I go out of my way to look for budget golf (I doubt I would be into golf as much as I am if it weren't for golfnow.com) - it's just far more enjoyable to me to play a decent course for $24 than feel like I'm getting robbed playing a nicer course.     I think many if not most ordinary working class people think it's just too expensive (tee times, not gear) ... simple as that.

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The poll wouldn't let me choose more than one, so I guessed choice A, the cost.  This may, very well, be because I'm in southern California though.  My other choice was B - time.  I'm trying to get my wife into it a little more (extra difficult with two toddlers) and she actually enjoys it quite well when we go to the local 9 hole par 3 course.  We don't have enough time to play a full round on a full course right now, but we both agree that when the kids are older (especially when they are old enough to play also) we will try.  But 6 hours (out the door to back home) is a loooooong time.

If my wife was answering the poll, and she would qualify as a newbie, I think she would say time first, and then difficulty.  When we play and she's making contact and getting it in the air she has a blast.  When she starts whiffing and hitting it sideways, she hates it and would just as soon go home and never do it again.

P.S.  I'm just playing ... it's really the USGA and the anchored putter ban, no question.

Originally Posted by shooter

I basically live in the golf capital of the Canada, ...

Did you go to college at Ohio State, by chance? ;)

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Originally Posted by cooke119

Judging by the wait for tee times on Long Island, NY I think golf is doing just fine (at least around here).

I'd agree, most of the popular public courses here on Long Island are pretty booked.  Some of the less popular or remote courses aren't too tough to get a tee time on though.  I think we're fortunate to have so many public options plus private clubs here to handle the demand.

I know of at least two courses that were wiped out by Sandy so it will be interesting to see what that does to the tee times at courses nearby.

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Originally Posted by inthehole

I'm probably a case study.    The reason I never wanted to even try it & waited until I was 46 years old to play (guilted into playing an outing by my boss & thats all it took) was that I knew it would take a serious time commitment to get good at golf & I had plenty of other hobbies that took up my free time.       I've never been interested in doing anything half assed, so I was never willing to try it.      Fast Forward 2 years ...  I've got well over 200 rounds under my belt and barely got my bass boat(s) wet during that time.      Down deep (I've actually said it to friends years ago), I was afraid I'd actually like golf & thats why I never wanted to try it because I knew it would cut into my other hobbies - I've never been so right ...

PS - I do think a round of golf costs too much for the average person, especially if they plan to play alot.    I make good money & still have a very hard time shelling out $40-$50 to play golf.    I go out of my way to look for budget golf (I doubt I would be into golf as much as I am if it weren't for golfnow.com) - it's just far more enjoyable to me to play a decent course for $24 than feel like I'm getting robbed playing a nicer course.     I think many if not most ordinary working class people think it's just too expensive (tee times, not gear) ... simple as that.

most courses around here are $30-35 with cart, you can go to a couple of goat pastures about 20 miles away they are 22-26 with cart or there is a links course at $60 twilight or $95 week ends (its a really nice course) i play this when vendors pay for it.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

The poll wouldn't let me choose more than one, so I guessed choice A, the cost.  This may, very well, be because I'm in southern California though.  My other choice was B - time.

I was torn when I created it to allow one or multiple responses.  If everyone thinks multiple answers would be better and Erik can change the setting I'd be fine with it.

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I would suggest that the intersection of the Recession and Super-Parenting are aggravating factors.

The Recession has made it too expensive for people out of work, and those still employed often have less discretionary income than a few years ago. Plus, those still employed don't want to look like they're having too much fun or the boss will hold it against them. Face time is critical.

Then, there's the Super-Parenting. The middle-class and especially upper class have increasing incidence of couples that have one or two designer children - the little one (or two) has to be perfect so they can succeed later in life.  The older parents tend to be Gen Xers, the former latchkey kids that want to make sure they don't short-change their own youngsters. So, there isn't much adult time between kindergarten and early college.

The Recession + SP has people both quitting the game, or not starting in the first place.

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Money is #1 for those I know. Less disposable income and rising green fees. What little we get in raises is dwarfed by rising insurance, fuel and food. Going backwards. Image is probably #2. Lots of people think its an upper class snob sport. Intimidation is #3. I've asked lots to play and most have never played or say they are awful. They don't want to look stupid and don't know the rules or have the equipment.
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Cost really depends on where you play. Here we have really nice courses that can be played for a couple of bucks more than a 12 pack, if you walk. Some of the most crowed are the better par 3 and exec tracks. That said premium tee times are tough to get at the expensive courses during the season, pass holder get most of those. But again probably a regional thing. Colorado didn't take a digger like most places.

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Got a weird one for a reason not to begin golf.  Took a lesson in Palm Springs CA at a driving range, the grip they tried to start me out with (not sure if it was an interlocking or a Varden) .  It didnt feel right,  playing sports and growing up on a farm I knew how to hold a stick, and that wasnt the correct way, fast forward to living here in Santa Fe and needing a hobby in the summer time and I found Jay Golden online at You Tube and low and behold a baseball grip was okay to use went out wacked the crap out of a bunch of balls and have been hooked ever since.  Went out and played today yes in the intermittent snow and cold. Love this game. Side note have since changed grip from baseball to Interlocking to Varden.  Maybe instructors should look at that more, just my 2 cents.

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Cost in my area is not a problem, unless you're talking about the price of brand new top of the line equipment.  There are 2-3 good muni courses that are around 30 bucks a round on a Saturday not including cart.  Most of the time when I invite people to join me they say they don't want to because they suck.  It's not an issue of time for them, they just don't want to go out there and hit the ball sideways 10+ times per hole when they could be doing something else.

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This is a million dollar question, but all the factors listed could be blamed. I play a lot ,and it is rare to see a group of young guys. I'm a member at a nice semi-private course, and I pay $200 per month for my son and I. We more than get value out of our dues. There are other courses in the area that are good courses at reasonable prices. Travel for kids sports has gotten a little crazy, and that could be a reason people are not playing. When my son was playing hockey, I had very little time for golf. I would think pace of play would be a big issue. I will not play some courses, even though they are good courses, because I know it will be slow. I sure don't know what the answer is, but I know that course operators would like to know.

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Originally Posted by flintcreek6412

Intimidation is #3. I've asked lots to play and most have never played or say they are awful. They don't want to look stupid and don't know the rules or have the equipment.

That's the reason most of my family members won't play.  They all own nice golf clubs, shoes, clothes, have plenty of money but they aren't motivated enough to dedicate the time to lessons and practice.

When I do convince them to play they get frustrated quickly and will end the round sitting in the cart and watching.  I've tried to convince them to take lessons or go to the range with me but they are so frustrated they don't want to bother.

I'm the opposite, I like challenging myself to do things that are so difficult most people won't even try.  That's a big part of the reason I run marathons and play golf.  It's take a lot of time and effort but the rewards are worth it, well I'm at least hoping the reward is worth it with golf, I'll let you know if I get there.

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