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Why isn't golf attracting more new players?


newtogolf
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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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Originally Posted by turtleback

Maybe a perusal of all of the negativity in the playing with strangers thread might also partially explain it.

Either that or some peoples hate for cargo shorts and flat brimmed caps.

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A lot of valid reasons. It takes too long to play.younger people with both spouses working don't have the time. And if they both work, the idea the one of them can't take off for 6 hours for a round of golf is just not going to work as in the past when only 1 spouse worked. A lot of young people spend time in front of computers and do not play sports. Finally, I once saw statistics that showed the percentage of people who try golf and quit because it is too hard. Or to put it another way, they don't pick up the game and don't have the time, money or interest to engage in the amount or practice required to become decent or even acceptable. Plus, if you do not start golf before you are 20, the time, money and interest required to become decent is much greater. It is like flying. A lot of people take a few flying lessons because they see it is fun. When they learn how much time, study, work and practice is required they drop out. I have talked many friends into trying golf. Only 1 still plays, 1 time a week at most in The Summer. It is a hard game.

Nice post. I would be one such. Played a bit of golf in my early twenties (not much tho') and got my pilots license but didn't use it for decades. Then approaching retirement I took them both up again. Partly time, partly money, partly too many other interests. The flying hiatus is OK with me but I do regret not having played golf all along. I missed out on a lot and it's a game for all ages for sure.

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I'm wondering if golf not being a team sport is also a reason that kids are not as interested.  I played in a flag football tournament last weekend and had a blast.  It has been almost 30 years since I last played college football and didn't realize how much I missed the camaraderie of team sports.  Playing side by side with good friends, all giving 100% to beat the other teams.  It's a completely different atmosphere and feeling compared to golf.

I love golf, but it's a different.  It's a personal challenge to improve but it's you against the course (except match play or some side bets).   You have a few laughs with your buddies but it's different, more sterile and subdued.  As older adults our sports options are somewhat limited, but for kids, I can see the attraction towards team sports over golf.  I don' t know how H.S. and college golf works in terms of competition, but maybe more emphasis has to be made on the team, with more Ryder Cup like matches.

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I firmly believe in developing youth programs that teach and introduce golf to juniors...our future golf club members. As a ten year old I was fortunate enough to belong to a private golf club that assigned a senior club member to juniors like me to look after us and to introduce us to the tradition, manners and etiquette of the game. We also were given clinics, lessons and fun events to bring us into the golfing fold. If your course and/or club does not have an active junior program then I firmly recommend that you bring up the matter with your club's executive and management. I am 67. I have stayed with this game for more than a lifetime and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank goodness I was brought up in the game early.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

I'm wondering if golf not being a team sport is also a reason that kids are not as interested.  I played in a flag football tournament last weekend and had a blast.  It has been almost 30 years since I last played college football and didn't realize how much I missed the camaraderie of team sports.  Playing side by side with good friends, all giving 100% to beat the other teams.  It's a completely different atmosphere and feeling compared to golf.

I love golf, but it's a different.  It's a personal challenge to improve but it's you against the course (except match play or some side bets).   You have a few laughs with your buddies but it's different, more sterile and subdued.  As older adults our sports options are somewhat limited, but for kids, I can see the attraction towards team sports over golf.  I don' t know how H.S. and college golf works in terms of competition, but maybe more emphasis has to be made on the team, with more Ryder Cup like matches.

You make a good point.  My oldest daughter is athletic and prefers sports like track and cross-country and I've been a little surprised that she's shown no interest in golf.  Much like cross-country (her favorite sport) golf is very much the individual vs the course.  I'm guessing that she quickly realized how hard golf is and didn't like feeling like an "idiot" when repeatedly duffing the golf ball.

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I can only speak about the area where I live but lack of money is the main reason most of the good young athletes don't take up golf.

Time conflicts with the other sports are the next reason. Back when I was in school most of us played multiple sports and the coaches encouraged it. Now they make it virtually impossible to do and have required camps, practices, and workouts out of season. Drove me crazy when I was coaching baseball that my best players might have to attend a requried basketball practice on a game day.

Girls and women simply don't play in this area very much, even the ones whose parents belong to the country club and could play at no further cost. Not sure why because it's relatively easy to get a scholarship to play women's golf and (unlike softball) a chance for the best to keep going after college.

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Originally Posted by MS256

I can only speak about the area where I live but lack of money is the main reason most of the good young athletes don't take up golf.

Time conflicts with the other sports are the next reason. Back when I was in school most of us played multiple sports and the coaches encouraged it. Now they make it virtually impossible to do and have required camps, practices, and workouts out of season. Drove me crazy when I was coaching baseball that my best players might have to attend a required basketball practice on a game day.

Girls and women simply don't play in this area very much, even the ones whose parents belong to the country club and could play at no further cost. Not sure why because it's relatively easy to get a scholarship to play women's golf and (unlike softball) a chance for the best to keep going after college.

several years ago when i coached soccer this subject about girls picking up any type of schollys to continue their college education came up between me and a couple of parents, 3 sports came up  golf, tennis and soccer. i had 1 set of parents move to Florida so they had a better chance of their daughter picking up a ride to a college, they said she had a better chance in Florida than any where else

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The two biggest barriers are definitely money and time and I'm not sure there really is a way around that - personally I don't want the game to get so popular that I'm constantly dealing with the dregs who think it's fine to play in 5-6 hours and down a case of beer while you're at it.  I live in southeast Michigan, which I think is pretty much a mecca for public golf - there are probably 20-30 really good courses within a half hour of my house and for most of my buddies (well off, 35-55 year-olds) we have little desire to join a private club because of that.

I think interest in golf pretty much is where it will always stay.  Tiger brought in a bunch of new golfers, which really drove up course building and prices, but things have since leveled off and some of that overgrowth has been pruned back a bit.  Courses that used to charge $65-70 are now charging $50 and many of the players who started golf because it was the "in" thing have since fallen away - I see no issue with that.

For those looking to grow the game, I'm not sure what they are looking toward as an end game.

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For me

- money (always like it to be cheaper)

- access.  The ability to go to a good course and just get on is a factor - courses book up and you can't just go and golf on a whim many times.

- some people - but, you tend to find jerks in any sport - but here, it's quiet enough that you get to experience them, in bad pants, with a variety of objectionable attitudes.  luckily most people are pretty decent and friendly - maybe that just makes the bad apples stand out more - performance frustration likely amplifies their crapulence

I don't sympathize with the time thing.  Golf takes time, I don't like super slow play and standing around, but if you sign up for an activity, then committing 3 to 5 hours for 18 holes should be a bonus, not a penalty.  i.e., I enjoy the activity, more time, in clear air, not worrying about chores or the next appointment, etc,,, isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If I'm in a hurry, then maybe I should take up blackjack, or rock/paper/scissors as an equivalent, but faster activity.

I don't think we're hurting, during the good months, the courses are full.

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Originally Posted by chriskzoo

For those looking to grow the game, I'm not sure what they are looking toward as an end game.

The end game is the bottom line on the income statement of the people who make golf equipment and, to a lesser extent, other that make their living from golf.

Originally Posted by jgreen85

Should golf be growing in the developed world? Pretty much all of those interested probably play or have tried it out. Can't expect everyone to want to play it.

Exactly.

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I snuck out and got 18 in today.  Parking lot was almost empty when I got to the course.  Cool day and windy- but a great day!  Played the front nine in one hour and 40 min.  We had two walkers and our partners in a cart.   Got home by 4 pm and was able to clear all emails and phone calls by 530 to enjoy the weekend.  BTW-clipped out pigeons for $100 as well.  The game is alive and well.  Yes-its expensive but so are lake houses, boats, wives and families.  We make our choices and since I dont work on cars or build furniture in my free time I am happy to spend the small fortune I do on my folly.  Fairways and Greens!

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Originally Posted by Dave2512

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.

Being a career Soldier, I have lived all over the United States and have seen all types of courses in all types of communities during all times of economic woes/boons.  With all that being said, it is a combination of access and cost.  I love to play, but when weekend rates for a good course hit $75 and more...I have to think twice...in fact I dont think...I dont play.  I play most of my golf during the week in the afternoons.  If you look at growing this game...you MUST make it accessible to the public...all the public.  Several comments talked about goat patches that were inexpensive...and they are CORRECT.  Sorry courses are affordable.  While you can afford to play there, it is hard to grow the game from venues that cannot afford to do much more than mow the grass.

Just my thoughts.

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I never post but read a lot of posts, so here goes.  I'm 51, play in a small town, 12,000 people county, and board member of my course.   Our course is like several have described, we could be the poster child for golf course problems.  We are far and away the nicest and most challenging course in our county and one of the nicest 9 hole courses in NW Iowa.  But we are old, white, and I would wager like a lot of clubs with a membership make up like ours, failing.  A club house that was over sized when it was originally built and now with shrinking membership, falling apart.  We can't afford to maintain it and because over the years the members didn't want to raise dues the debt is out of control. It's always easier to just "put it on the note"  and pretend things will get better next year, next year never comes.

I voted economy, real wages haven't increased in years and younger people have very little extra cash for golf.  My second vote would be image, the snob attitudes, they permiate every private club, we joke about the snobs at our course by calling it Bushwood, and they never get it.  JMHO

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Golf seems to be doing well around my area. I see a lot more people getting into the game because it is fairly cheap ($40 a round). Overall, I'd say its a money thing. People are less likely to play when they don't have as much disposable income.

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Golf is just fine. In fact, now with Tiger back in full swing, on the news in the morning, etc..., I bet this is going to be one of the best years for golf in a long time.

Anytime Tiger wins, I bet a whole slew of people go out and buy clubs.

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Originally Posted by JxQx

Golf seems to be doing well around my area. I see a lot more people getting into the game because it is fairly cheap ($40 a round). Overall, I'd say its a money thing. People are less likely to play when they don't have as much disposable income.


$40 for a round of golf isn't cheap in my book. Can't see where young people will be shelling out that to play the game when $40 can get them so much more elsewhere.

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