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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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Originally Posted by inthehole

Mildly bloviating post on last page as to how irrelevant the Republican Party is today and how exactly this applies to the traditional golf demographic. I can see the correlation in theory, but think the one fallacy with that post involves the inherent cost of maintaining a quality golf course. It will always be expensive, and lets face it, on average us old white guys outnumber the alledged new majority population segment in disposable income. I just don't see widespread demographic changes if the cost of golf remains at what it is today ...

The "old white guy" population is not growing....'tis just a matter of time...as for "bloviating"-mildly or otherwise,  methinks attributing the decline in golf's popularity to the cost of running a course is a bit more than bloviation...there are many muni's that charge 20 bucks or less yet the game is still in decline.... ....your post sounds much more like "whistling past the graveyard", mate.....yesiree dont you worry about that demographic tsunami coming right at ya.....old white guys will not long control most of the disposable income  either since they wont be around to spend it..........just as the GOP will not win a national election moving forward....

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Although the economy is tough on  everything, golf has been stagnant or declining well before the current recession. Golf is competing for people's time with a host of other time demands.  As a

The question was about "new players."  Dude's a 1 handicap, so I don't think he qualifies as "new."  And I think he's very right.  That is absolutely one answer you'll get when you ask non-golfers for

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

Originally Posted by logman

Stogiesnbogies......right on.

Loglady say's "why would you want to spend time with the sort of people that play golf". I don't know how to tell her!

Thanks, mate.

I think we can all recount tales of the shoddy manner which women golfers are often  treated at many clubs-private and public.  I can assure you that it is no better for Blacks, Latinos or any other minority which attempts to play golf .....then the golf establishment scratches their collective heads and can't understand why the game is in decline...perhaps it has something to do with the manner in which these "New Majority" golfers are "welcomed", eh?  LOL

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Cost of gear and cost of play is the biggest barrier for entry that I see.  Seconded by time factor.  Third would be finding a group to play with on a regular basis.

LONG gone are the days where families aspired to 'join the club' (Leave It To Beaver springs to mind) for golf and other social activities.  Golf doesn't appear to be an activity passed down by generation anymore, either.

Plus, so many entered this game later in life...well into 30s for many that I know.  By then, kids are into their own things, enough money to scrape together a decent set of clubs; a week-night golf league perhaps and the occasional weekend round with buddies.  Prior to that, too many other more important things to spend golf time and money on.

Golf is a very big industry, but I agree, it's hard to attract the non-player into the fold.

dave

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I would go with the high expense to get started.  If you go with halfway decent clubs, bag, shoes, gloves, balls, etc it would cost over a grand to just get going.  But the big problem is those people like me that go play and take friends for the first time, some get turned off because I have over 2 grand tied up in my clubs, bag, putter, balls, rangefinder, etc.  I know in my area hunting is a big thing and that is what gets a lot of peoples extra money.  But if you can get people away from that, it becomes a big time consumer.  Assume you live less than 15 min from the club and it takes 4.5 to 5 hours to play. You have around 6 hours involved with drive time, warm up, and play.  I play with a lot of guys that have wives and kids.  What we do is literally play from sun up to sun down one day a week.  I work 12 hour shifts and it is hard to find people to play the other days, and the excuse I get is time. (I don't let people tell me no clubs, I keep a spare set to loan people so they will come play).

So to sum it all up, in my mind its two things 1.) $$$ to get started

2.) Time to go play a round - or the time involved to get halfway decent

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a little harsh, but the truth hurts.    My 10 yr old nephew has an electronic game, ipad or laptop attached to his hand 24/7, as does just about every pre-teen kid I see today - it's instant gratification .... these kids live in a vivid electronic fantasyland.   He has absolutely no interest in anything that requires work or practice (i.e.  sports)

Finally someone said it, its kind of hypocritical since I'm typing this on a smartphone but kids need to get active again. It would be nice to see some parents tear the hand held devices from some of these kids hands and send them out to play.

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Have to disagree a bit about the cost of gear.  You can buy a very decent set of second-hand clubs for two or three hundred if you don't mind some dings and scratches.  As a newbie you don't need the latest and greatest.

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We don't set aside a time when new golfers like our children and wives are welcomed to play our course.

It is surprising how many golfers are rude to new golfers who don't yet play fast golf. How many of us can get our wives and adult daughters to golf if they are going to be publically criticized. We want more wives and daughters to take up golf, but the rude complainers still make them unwelcome.

I have called courses and asked when to take out adult beginners who have taken a full set of lessons from the pros and practiced on the practice range. There are no executive or par 3 courses withing an hours drive.  When my brother in law and I took out his two gran daughters, who were Division I field hockey players.  We were told by the PRO that the late afternoon on Wednesday would be a good time to take the 22 year old girls out to play. We had trouble playing in the afternoon because of several twosomes who were playing biathlon (Speed) golf.  Even though we invited them to play through they still criticized the college girls to their faces for playing too slow and holding them up from finishing their speed rounds.  We still finished 18 holes in 4 hours and 25 minutes.

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I'd say it's a combination of cost and bad image. Golf is stupid expensive to play, and the costs are fixed; it's not like paying for a hoop and a ball and that's it. You're spending money on golf balls, clubs, green fees, cart fees. With other sports (for the most part) playing on a amateur level requires very little money. With golf, you're spending a chunk just to mess around with your friends on a Saturday afternoon.

Plus, golf has an image of being for the old, rich, and white. It's not true (not totally), but it's what people think. Golf has gotten better at promoting a more inclusive image, but it took Tiger and fifteen years of dominance to put a dent in that reputation. Slowly, as the tours become more athletic and powerful, more people will be drawn. Cutting costs a few percent wouldn't hurt either.

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Definitely the USGA

Seriously though it's either cost or time, I voted for cost.  It's an expensive sport, so for kids to pick it up they probably come from families that are members of a golf club or have some disposable income to spend on equipment, range balls, Puma clothes and lessons for the kid.  Heck even tournaments are pretty expensive.  Then when it comes to people picking up the game in their 40's, 50's, I think it's more about time.  Like GolfingDad said 6 hours away is a long time.  I was lucky enough to have parents that were members of a club, both played golf, both sides of the family played golf.  So my Dad playing with his buddies every Wednesday and Sunday was almost expected because that was similar to what my grandfather (on my Mom's side) did.

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It's disposable income.

I have four boys, that's four sets of clubs, enough balls for them to complete a round,and greens fees. Just keeping them in balls to practice with ( I have a huge back yard ) can be expensive. The price of food keeps rising and rising, gas goes up .04 cents a gallon on a daily basis. My hourly pay rate goes up around 4 percent a year but after insurance and taxes I work for less now then I did 10 years ago. Also I live in Upstate NY so I spend any bonus money from work on my home fuel bill. I try to take my boys three to four times a year and I have a great affordable easy course for them to learn on it's just that I can't come up with the money to do more. They don't mind practicing at home, but get bored if they can't take it to the course more often.

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As a new golfer, I'm going to say it's a time constraint issue.

I'm in sales, and I think traditionally there was a bit of a mindset that salespeople could often get out for a round with clients, or potential clients during the week. I don't think that's the case anymore, as many sales reps I know across many industries are all working 50-60 hour weeks to meet quotas and make sure they're taking care of their families.

Families are another issue - I have two kids. On Mondays and Saturdays there's karate. Wednesday and Thursday there's dance. Saturdays there's piano and swimming. Sundays there's CCD at two different times. In a few weeks, baseball will be starting up again. For many of my friends who are around my age (37) there's a lot more for our kids to take part in vs. when we were that age, so we as parents are often shuttling the kids, or at the games or matches or recitals or what have you. All of that drastically cuts down on 4-5 hour windows to go play 18.

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To be honest, I'm not concerned about attracting more players. Should I be?

More people to compete for tee times, higher green fees (supply vs demand).

I don't see the golf courses in my area having a difficult time finding people to put on their courses.

And in the winter months, they charge and arm/leg to play any course with decent tee boxes, fairways, greens.

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I think we just have numbers joining the game at a pre-Tiger rate similar to 20 or so years ago - it might even be a bit more than that.

I have no evidence for this, but I suspect the following:

--The golf industry experienced dramatic and sustained growth during the emergence and early years of Tiger,

--The gold industry started to build their business model around that degree of growth,

--The Woods-ian growth can no longer be sustained,

--The golf industry is slow to adapt to the decreasing levels of growth.

If the golf industry doesn't adapt, I think we'll experience (or, perhaps, we're starting to experience) the collapse of a 'golf-bubble'.

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Originally Posted by inthehole

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.

I agree that the cost of golf will keep many from getting involved in playing the game. Not only the green fees, but a good set of clubs along with the bag, balls, and shoes can cost $1,000 or more.

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Originally Posted by dfreuter415

I agree that the cost of golf will keep many from getting involved in playing the game. Not only the green fees, but a good set of clubs along with the bag, balls, and shoes can cost $1,000 or more.

A good set, but how many new golfers need a new good set.  There are plenty of clubs good enough for brand new golfers that are cheap enough to get them in the game if they want to.

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