Several golf courses have recently closed in the Minneapolis area. One of the cities oldest and perhaps most storied public course, Hiawatha is close to closing. This is the same story around the country. The number of golfers has declined from 30 million in 2003 to 23 million in 2016. Causing more concern is the fact of 18-34 year olds declining 30% since 2000.
What is causing this decline in the popularity of golf:
- Tiger Woods fading from the national spotlight, as well as he losing followers following his indiscretions with an array of women, and the divorce from his wife. When Tiger was hot, the golfing industry was hot.
- The younger generation of today, don’t want to, or can’t spend 6 hours on Saturday or Sunday golfing, especially if they kids in AAU sponsored youth programs. They have tournaments all over the globe, every weekend, many times overnight. Doesn’t leave much time for swinging the sticks.
- With more wives working than ever before, the alpha character has to spend more time helping with the daily chores, such as; grocery shopping, yard work, gardening, and honeydo activities.
- The pro golfers who get better every year, now averaging over 300 yards a drive, have basically been the reason, courses are getting longer and tougher. The weekend golfer is not looking for longer and more difficult courses. He’d just like to break 90 and have a fun round. Yet that isn’t happening.
- The overall cost of golfing has become a major expense for some, with green fees well over $100 on public courses, along with $25 for a cart, and expense in the bar, after your round. Not to mention the expense of new equipment, like a new Bertha, or that new putter, or how about those new golf balls, that will give you an extra 25 yards.
- The pressure on weekend golfers to drive the ball farther, bragging rights in the clubhouse. As that 500 yard hole becomes 600 yards, and you still are 220 off the tee, you don’t stand a chance of getting par, which is what all of us play for. Right? Nobody wants to something they are not good at.
How many guys do you know, that fits many of those factors? What can be done to stop the decline?
- Set up courses that you can play in 2 hours. Make 9 hole courses that are shorter than the typical 3,500 yards.
- Set up a grouping of different 3 hole groupings, or maybe a fun five hole course, that you could play after work. Maybe even come home and get junior, and help him get involved in golfing.
- Attempting something like this would be difficult for some, but it might get rid of the ” mines bigger than yours” mentality.
What I do know, is that without some major changes, golf will continue to lose about 5% of its current base every year. Couple that with the fact that only 5% of the population under 21 golfs.