There seems to be no getting away from the fact that the total number of individuals actively playing golf is trending down. Statistically that would seem to be the case. Inside the United States in 2013 it's estimated that more than 4 million golf players gave up the game. Even though quite a few golfers began enjoying the sport, there has still been quite a decline if such numbers are accurate. Additionally only 14 new golf courses in that span of time had been built in the United States and 157 shut down, according to the National Golf Foundation. |
The question will be: is this a long-term slide, or just some short-term hiccup. It appears the economic downturn and the recession of some years ago had some effect, as it caused many people to scale back with their discretionary spending. And very recently available information shows that there has been a little bounce back with play when the economic climate gets better. But the fact is the overall age of the golfing population is more aged. Maybe that's always been the case because when we age golf is one of the last areas that folks will participate at, but it will help the industry if more youngsters latched onto the game.
Read on for some reasons why individuals might be leaving the game, plus some ways that the golf business might help:
1. Cost to play. There is little doubt that the sum total to play a round of golf right now is substantially higher. I think generally the overall quality of courses has improved significantly within the last 40 or 50 years, and also to keep up these courses cost more money. That has definitely resulted in golf green charges going up. However if a person truly wants to play and could bring a little flexibility with when they play, we are discovering that golf courses will be going after this niche of players. You'll find discounts in great quantities and several at this time are attempting to bring back their clientele on a repeat basis by granting them huge discounts for a one time, upfront cost of perhaps $100.
2. Leisurely speed of play. I understand players complain about this now, but it has always been an issue as long as I've played, and that's many years. Unfortunately, on the whole etiquette has not improved, as people will back up play by hunting for a ball far longer than the five-minute rule, or squander excessive quantities of time around the putting golf green, ostensibly doing pretty much everything except for playing golf. Having the capability to report such problems and having a ranger regulating things should help. As well, if the ordinary player would only get their ego out of the way and play from tees that fit their golf game, golf would move more quickly and be much more enjoyable.
3. Getting in healthy shape. This may be impolite to bring this up, but as Americans get bulkier plus much more out of shape, it is a greater effort to get out and basically carry out some light exercise for four hours. Needless to say, the answer to this is we all ought to work to get into better condition. But as this turns into a larger dilemma in our society we could perhaps begin to find more and more people using golf as the great exercise it is, particularly as we get older.
If you are into golf like we are, we invite you to check out our website http://golfshortgames.com, as well as an article on tips on drawing a ball with your driver. Jim O'Connell is an avid golfer and writer living in Chicago.
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