Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

“We can build golf as an option for every young person in the US”

Published

on

There are more than 200,000 Little League teams in the United States at this time in 2012.  There are more than 50,000 Little League Baseball fields that these teams and young people play on throughout the year. But how many publicly accessible, youth-dedicated short golf courses are there for young people to learn the game of golf on? Don’t know? Neither do I.

There so many fields for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and football, and tons of gymnasiums available for indoor sports. Yet there are very few areas dedicated for growing the game of golf amongst the youth.

One of the obvious reasons for this is that golf is too expensive. Or is it?

In Queens, NY, the Flushing Meadows Golf Center does nearly year-round business with very little upkeep. It’s publicly run and is crowded throughout the year with lights so they can stay open after the sun goes down. The idea is smart, yet this is the only place of its kind in the New York Metropolitan Area in which I reside.

If we are going to grow the game of golf, we need more people to play and we need more people to play it when they are YOUNG. When I was growing up in the Bronx, my options were to play baseball in the spring and summer and basketball in the fall and winter. I was never given the option to play golf because my family didn’t have the money to join a country club. But what if I was able to go to one of several pitch-and-putt courses with my dad or even better, be dropped off at a small six-hole course as they have at the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where I could take instruction and learn the game at a facility built for a child-sized me?

Golf courses, in their current size and state, are an expensive business. Yes, people are still playing and yes, the game isn’t getting demolished. But it’s certainly not “growing” in the US, at the rate we would like. Why don’t some smart people, instead of buying up 10,000 yards of land, try to nab 350 and develop course with some 30-to-60-yard holes? They’re fun, they’re not hard to maintain and they can make money while still growing the game for people of all ages and all skill levels. Dedicate certain hours of the day for these courses to children between certain ages and boom, you’re not only growing the game but you’re also starting a successful business venture. Isn’t that what everyone wants in the golf business — financial success and to see the game develop?

The First Tee, as admirable as it is, is a catalyst to help children learn “life skills THROUGH the use of golf.”  It is not “learn golf and then life skills.” If we are going to really grow the game with children, we need to provide them with facilities that are built with them in mind — think “Little League” golf courses. Why hasn’t someone thought of this? Why hasn’t it been done?

When I asked Met golf professional Ryan Ekey this question, he said:

“I have no idea. This is a very smart idea — but someone with the financial backing and love for the game would need to want to invest.”

Bingo, Ryan – you nailed it.

So, with this, a cry for help. Playing hip-hop in the background for Web.com Tour commercials isn’t going to attract young people to the game. Catering to those at all levels of the social stratosphere IS!

Click here for more discussion in the “Junior Golf” forum. 

By Jonas Borra

GolfWRX Contributor

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

The History of Course Design is Yours to Play at Oglebay

Published

on

There is a much-talked about “New Golden Age” of golf course design underway that is driven by demand for ever-more spectacular courses at the top end of the resort golf market. Destinations such as Streamsong, Bandon Dunes, Cabot Links, Sand Valley and others provide the traveling golfer a spectacular golf experience; unfortunately, it comes at a price tag that is equally spectacular. When a week playing golf in Florida can cost as much as a week in Scotland, where do you go for a golf getaway that doesn’t require a second mortgage?

Oglebay Golf Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, doesn’t just provide an affordable golf vacation option; with its three golf courses, it provides players the chance to experience a condensed history of American golf course design through its three courses. The resort sits on land that was once owned by a wealthy industrialist and is now a part of the city park system. Located about an hour from Pittsburgh, Oglebay draws the majority of its golfers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s kind of cool that when you drive to Oglebay from the Washington, D.C., you hit all of those states except Ohio, which is just a few minutes away from Wheeling. The area is especially picturesque in the autumn months when the changing colors of the leaves are at their peak.

The property has a rich history in the business and sporting history of West Virginia, but the three golf courses, Crispin, are a special prize that taken together form a primer on the history of golf design in the past 90 years. The 5,670-yard Crispin course is a one-off design by local golf enthusiast Robert Biery that was completed in 1930 and is a fascinating study of design techniques of that era. The slopes and elevation are severe and extreme by today’s standards. A clue was the raised eyebrow of the assistant pro when I said that I would walk the course. Uneven lies are the order of the day, the product of a time when there was neither the money nor equipment readily available to create gentle slopes and even surfaces; the course is true to the original contours of the West Virginia hillside.  There is little relief on the greens, which run a little slower than typical greens but make up for it in size and slope. It is by far the shortest of the three courses but the par-4 8th hole and par-5 9th holes are a thousand yards of joy and pain.

Hole No. 6 at the Klieves course

The Klieves Course is a 6,800-yard, par-71 Arnold Palmer design that was completed in 2000. The design features broad fairways, mildly undulating greens and opportunities for heroics on short par-4’s, all the prototypical characteristics of modern resort golf courses. While some architects choose to torture and torment, Palmer courses put a premium on fun and this one is no exception. The par-5, 515 yard 6th is a great example of the risk/reward available without that challenges the resort golfer without the need to humiliate. The course is very well maintained tee to green, and you’ll want to keep a fully charged battery to take photos of the vistas from the elevated tee boxes.

Hole No. 13 at the Jones course

In my humble opinion, the true gem is the Robert Trent Jones course. The 7,004-yard, par-72 Course carries a healthy 75.1 rating/141 slope from the back tees. It utilizes a gorgeous piece of land that meanders across the West Virginia hills to give a mesmerizing collection of holes that are equal parts scenery and challenge. Both nines start from elevated tee boxes hitting down into valleys that offer classic risk/reward propositions. Usually I have no problem identifying a favorite hole or two, but on this course it’s difficult. Having said that, the stretch of No. 4 (par 3, 193 yards), No. 5 (par-5, 511 yards) and No. 6 (par-4, 420 yards) are among the best I have played anywhere as a show of nature’s beauty and the at of laying out a golf hole. And the four par 3’s are not the place to pic up an easy birdie. The only one less that 190 yards from the tips is the 158-yard 15th, which is protected by a small, undulating green. All in all, it’s a perfect representation of the genius of Robert Trent Jones.

The golf is good at Oglebay and the prices are better. You can get in 18 at the Oglebay courses for as little as $32…on the weekend. And when you’re not playing golf, you can take advantage of the myriad of outdoor sports activities, tour the Oglebay mansion, hit the spa or visit the Glass Museum on the property (I promise it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds). There’s a lot of great new golf resorts out there and that’s a good thing for the golf industry, but destinations like Oglebay prove that there’s a lot of life left in the old classics as well.

Your Reaction?
  • 75
  • LEGIT7
  • WOW3
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Two Guys Talkin’ Golf: “Are pro golfers actually underpaid?”

Published

on

Equipment expert Brian Knudson and GolfWRX editor Andrew Tursky argue whether PGA Tour players are actually underpaid or not. They also discuss Blades vs. Cavity backs, Jordan Spieth vs. Justin Thomas and John Daly’s ridiculous 142 mph clubhead speed.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP3
  • OB0
  • SHANK34

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Legend Rees Jones speaks on designing Danzante Bay in Mexico

Published

on

Hall-of-Fame golf course architect Rees Jones talks about his newest course design, Danzante Bay at Villa Del Palmar in Mexico. Also, Jeff Herold of TRS Luggage has an exclusive holiday discount offer for GolfWRX listeners!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending