Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Future of Golf? That is the $69 billion question...

As the manager of three County owned or operated golf courses, the video below contains much of what my day (and nights for matter) consist.  How do we grow the game or at least keep it from shrinking?  My staff and I have thought up many crazy ideas to stimulate new golfers, music on the driving range, introduce foot golf, play it forward, short family tees, 8" holes in the greens, and free golf for women for an entire month!  (The last one we actually did and we almost got sued because of it, but this promotion gained us nearly $130,000 dollars in two months and only included the income from the initial POS without the bar or spend at the turn)  Much of the problem in my opinion is that our traditional golfers hate these ideas and are not willing to get on board or promote theses alternatives.



Now many would say, "Who cares? We don't need all of the other people playing the sport."  "If they don't like it, let them find something else to do."  These were actually two of the responses that I heard while attending the Symposium on Affordable Golf in North Carolina in 2012 when the topic of traditions vs. changing the game was introduced.  Is it good when industry professionals or people of influence don't care if the game grows?  What other businesses would you expect to hear this type of philosophy?...'We're all good here; we don't want to grow."  I can't think of any either.



We need people promoting the game at every turn including the traditionalists to encourage younger golfers, female golfers, minority golfers, and disadvantaged golfers to at least try the sport.  You can play soccer, baseball, and football in nearly every park in the United States and our Park systems partially fund them through tax dollars.  Tennis courts abound in most communities throughout the country too, complete with lights ... also funded with tax dollars.  It is hard to compete with these sports that require very low start up costs to try.  You can buy a really nice football, baseball and glove, or soccer ball for what it costs to rent a set of clubs at most mid level golf courses and your mom or dad can teach you how to play successfully at no cost.  It may cost you a few hundred dollars in lessons to begin to actually slice the ball rather than dribble it across the ground after you invest a hundred dollars in clubs from Craigslist or E-Bay.



To get back to my point, think back to how you first began playing the game.  Did you just think one day, "You know I would like to play golf!"  If you are like most people, you were introduced to the game through a family member or friend and you likely sneaked onto the closest course without paying.  What is the future of golf?  I am not sure, but how many people have you introduced to the game in the past 5 years or what is your message about the game when speaking to someone?  Golf is the greatest game.  It stimulates our nations economies, raises billions of funds for charitable causes, instills morals and ethics within our youth, provides social outlets for participants and spectators alike, encourages wildlife, and fights obesity through exercise.  If you need more ammunition go to We are Golf to find more information.  Thanks for your support and enjoy the video.



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