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Sooooo, is golf dying?


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#31 jslane57

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:29 PM

I don't think golf is dying either. That's like saying driving a car is dying. Well, maybe it is:) There will always be car enthusiasts, and expensive cars are selling. But car ownership/ insurance is very steep for kids today. Many of my kid's friends are waiting to get driver's licenses and and cars. They also don't golf like they wish they could. There are cheaper alternatives for sure. Like disc golf. Like hiking. Like soccer.

It seem to me golf is actually enjoying an uptick. Look at the cost of clubs! Prices don't go way up if they don't sell. We've had a few courses close around my area, but the ones open seem pretty full. Maybe it's all old folks golfing more, but that's not horrible...


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#32 cmatthews77

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:38 PM

As others have stated, golf is not dying! But it is possibly contracting or returning to the pre-Tiger boom levels.  I'm not even sure I believe all of that.  

1. Nike- I was a little surprised they got out of the golf hard goods business but not shocked.  Again, Nike IS an apparel and shoe business.  It was never their core to make products and just never seemed like a good fit with a saturated market.  The other thing is Nike isn't by definition a niche product like they were in golf equipment.  They're meant to be market leaders so get out and focus on what you lead in.  Better for everyone IMO except maybe the mini-tour pros, etc. who benefitted from the reach of Nike endorsement deals.  I still don't think this is such a huge ordeal.  Perhaps they can keep the Nike apparel deals (that's really the expensive part anyway is constantly buying clothes and shoes).  Unless you're being paid to use certain clubs there is no reason to be changing clubs every year like us 'hos'.  Let a good college player buy a set of clubs and stick with them like it used to be.

2. Golfsmith-  This is more of a sign IMO of changing e-commerce economy.  Circuit City goes bankrupt but no one can argue that electronics is dying.  I can't comment on Golfsmith business practices but I've never been in one.  I'd prefer to buy equipment either directly from the manufacturer (which makes it very tough on golf retailers), my home course or online after I've demo'd and know what i want.  I'm not going to bother finding and going into a Golfsmith to buy balls or clothes when i can get those anywhere.
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#33 jaymay82

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:42 PM

No doubt Tiger moves the golf needle.

For instance, in 1996 just when Tiger was turning pro, I was a freshman in high school and our golf team could barely field the required 4 players needed to post team scores.  Keep in mind that this was a middle-class community with approx 2K student body.  By the time I was a senior, we had about 50 students trying to get on the team.

Tiger made golf cool.  Especially when he was dominating.  I remember my grandmother who never picked up a golf club in her life, was always glued to the TV when Tiger was playing.  I had friends who used to mock me for playing golf, then couple years later asking how they could get started in the sport.  I'm sure there are thousands of stories just like that during the Tiger boom.

I don't know if the sport is "dying" like the doom and gloomers want you to believe, but I do know that the golf shops, driving ranges, and golf courses in our area are still pretty packed.

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#34 Slackattack

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:46 PM

There was a combination of factors that drove golf to exceptional heights in the early 2000's.  Tiger Woods brought the masses to the game more than anyone in history.  He was not only the most famous athlete in the world, there was a time where I believe he was the most recognized person in the world.  Golf was cool and the economy was good.  

On top of that, the equipment industry experienced a technological revolution with the golf ball and 460cc driver heads.  People were seriously picking up 20 yards over night by purchasing a new club.  

Fast forward to today and you have an economy that isn't nearly what it was.  Most people don't have the extra money to spend on golf.  If they do have the money, they probably don't have the time because they work so much.  The Tiger Woods enigma has been shattered and there is no one to chase Nicklaus' record.  There also really isn't a huge reason to buy a new driver because the reality is that last year's model is just as good as this year's model.  

Anyway, the entire golf industry is on decline.  It doesn't mean the game is dying, but it does mean it is contracting.  Eventually I suspect that it may come back.  However even if it doesn't, I still think it's the greatest game ever played.  I'll be playing and, if I'm fortunate enough to have kids, I will teach them the game as well.
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#35 Whatsinthebag

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:49 PM

Nike is getting out of the golf business because no one buys their equipment.  I rarely see anyone using it and the fact is, there are just not enough people out there willing to spend $400-500 on a new driver.  The reality is, these companies spend a lot of money on R&D, so they say, and they want to recoup that by charging $400 for a driver but if people put their money to work getting lessons, they'd be much better and could probably hit any driver you gave them.  They want you to believe that by adding speed lines to their clubs that they now go further. Nike uses marketing and a green color called Volt, to get people to buy.  The other issue is the money they spend endorsing players to get exposure so the masses will buy. Doesn't work.  The sad thing is that the guys who run these companies usually walk away with millions and a failed experiment for everyone else.

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#36 Whatsinthebag

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:54 PM

One more thing. I don't think golf is dying.  My son and his friends attend a golf league every Wednesday and theres a lot of kids out there from 8-15 years.  They all dress the part and think they look cool and that's good for golf in general.  The equipment side of things is a whole other issue.  We did the DCP qualifier 2 weeks ago.  I was shocked how many kids were there.
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#37 Webby58

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:55 PM

The problem with millennials is that they are too busy looking at the Smart Phone to play golf.:(
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#38 North Butte

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:00 PM

View PostWebby58, on 05 August 2016 - 01:55 PM, said:

The problem with millennials is that they are too busy looking at the Smart Phone to play golf. :(

Which is fine as long as they're not standing in the fairway doing it and keeping me from hitting my next shot.
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#39 jbhawx

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:00 PM

View PostWhatsinthebag, on 05 August 2016 - 01:49 PM, said:

Nike is getting out of the golf business because no one buys their equipment. I rarely see anyone using it and the fact is, there are just not enough people out there willing to spend $400-500 on a new driver. The reality is, these companies spend a lot of money on R&D, so they say, and they want to recoup that by charging $400 for a driver but if people put their money to work getting lessons, they'd be much better and could probably hit any driver you gave them. They want you to believe that by adding speed lines to their clubs that they now go further. Nike uses marketing and a green color called Volt, to get people to buy. The other issue is the money they spend endorsing players to get exposure so the masses will buy. Doesn't work. The sad thing is that the guys who run these companies usually walk away with millions and a failed experiment for everyone else.

The cost is easy really. You take the lots of money on R&D plus static operating cost plus variable operating costs divide that by number of units you produce varied by the length of production cycle and you get a price point, lol. In other words high R&D + short production cycle almost always = higher prices. Compound that by the sheer volume that has to be produced to get to that $500 cost, and now you have over stock, a shrinking market, plus competition that will (luckily for the OEM and not the consumer) price theirs around the same point without undercutting. That is basically why drivers are $500 bucks. They could easily stretch production cycles to lower costs, and/or lessen the R&D or make cosmetic changes only for production year differences (think Ford's new grill every year, but the truck is still the same). Then there is just ego....lol
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#40 Snowman9000

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:11 PM

This would be a whole nother thread, but it does relate to this one.  Having lived through the old times, the boom times, and now, I don't think it was as much a Tiger boom as it was an economic boom.  Tiger played some smallish part, sure.  But it was the whole economic boom and housing bubble that lifted golf.  The stock market went up for years.  Unemployment was low, wages were good.  People were flush and were spending.  A lot of courses were built as part of subdivisions (housing bubble).  

I would not like to see the golf course situation revert to where it was when I was young.  We had few choices, and they were not so hot.  The retail stores, well, that's death by progress (internet).  You can't put that genie back in the bottle.


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#41 LittleLeftToRight

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:38 PM

I forget who said it originally but-

Its the economy stupid.

Ain't gonna get any better either. When the bust happened a few years ago I almost immediately knew that we were entering a new "normal". I wish I was wrong.

Frankly I think unless the golf world starts letting some air out of the balloon the whole thing is going to implode.

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#42 carn9698

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:58 PM

The main Issue is the pressure companies put on employees to work long hours to keep their jobs. Not enough time left for golf and family time.

We need an economy upturn where employers start treating staff better to keep them.
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#43 DLiver

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:04 PM

Golf isn't dying but it is changing. The number of golf participants, which had been declining for several years, is now expected to increase modestly through the end of the decade. This, coupled with the continuing closing of golf courses will produce a slight increase in golfers per golf course. This sort of small growth means that some markets will do well and others won't, based more on local circumstances than national trends (for example, a local club or course closes, which allows the remaining courses to do better, etc.). So clubs/courses that are positioned well or in advantageous locations will do well, and courses that are marginal now or in very competitive markets will do poorly.

Where the real problems will occur is in the equipment industry--as we are already seeing. The game's very slow growth levels can't support all the equipment manufacturers that are around today, and these manufacturers can't increase revenue by raising prices due to competitive pressures.

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#44 MaybeTomorrow

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:37 PM

View Poststlouismark, on 05 August 2016 - 12:05 PM, said:

We went through a round of "golf is dying" stories a few years ago. Seems like it's coming back again and it's disturbing:

1. Nike quits golf equipment
2. Golfsmith files for bankruptcy
3. Low ratings for PGA tour
4. More research saying left wing Millenials hate the sport.
5. Rounds played down
6. Courses closing, few opening

I'm depressed again!


I think a lot of golf courses are failing at a very basic level. A lot of the golf business is stuck in the past! I went to my local club earlier this summer to ask about tournaments and they told me, "the tournament schedule is on the dry erase board in the cart barn."

It's 2016, they have a website AND a Facebook page, and they post their tournaments on a dry erase board in the cart barn. They use their FB page to share pictures of people who made hole-in-ones, or to announce when they'll be closed.

Golfers I know go to the golf course for 2 reasons: comradery and competition. If I don't have anyone to play with and I'm not playing for anything, I'd rather go play disc golf or shoot basketball for free. Or I'll just pay $5 to hit golf balls, but I'm not paying $40 to go play by myself.

Golf courses need to do a better job at connecting people. Whether its weekly scrambles or skins games, they need to embrace the reason people want to go to the golf course.

It's easy to blame a regression from the Tiger era or young people not being interested, but I think a lot of golf courses need to re-evaluate their business model. They can't just sit back and wait for people to start showing up bc its not going to happen.



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#45 DJShakes

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:45 PM

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 01:05 PM, said:

maybe the millennials that hate the sport do so because it is something that cannot be given to them for free.

Or maybe non-inclusive elitism (listed above) plays a larger factor.

- From a millenial who loves the game, and works hard to afford it.

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#46 Big Ben

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:10 PM

I think the golf business is inflexible and hasn't learned to adapt. The courses, retailers and overall golf establishment that learns to reach the consumer in new refreshing and creative ways will survive and probably flourish. It takes investment in marketing strategy and consumer centric personalities that WANT to get the job done well. BB
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#47 fore

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:12 PM

Aye!

Golf is dead.

Long live golf!

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#48 Forged4ever

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:26 PM

View PostDJShakes, on 05 August 2016 - 03:45 PM, said:

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 01:05 PM, said:

maybe the millennials that hate the sport do so because it is something that cannot be given to them for free.

Or maybe non-inclusive elitism (listed above) plays a larger factor.

- From a millenial who loves the game, and works hard to afford it.
He's a great guy and if ya met on the first tee you guys would have a fabulous time

Millenial or not, haha

Have a nice weekend Bro :)

All the Best,
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#49 Snowman9000

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:28 PM

View Postcarn9698, on 05 August 2016 - 02:58 PM, said:

The main Issue is the pressure companies put on employees to work long hours to keep their jobs. Not enough time left for golf and family time.

We need an economy upturn where employers start treating staff better to keep them.

The world is a much freer place than a generation ago.  The have-nots' freedom brought growth that is coming partly at the expense of the haves.  There is no going back.   We'll just have to figure out how to adapt.  There are no easy answers.

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#50 Matchplay10033

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:35 PM

I don't think it is dying it is just returning back to its original level.  I worked at a golf course when tiger broke into the scene.  Tee times were booked from sunrise until 530 pm on weekends.  Now I go to that same course and it is dead!  I think some people started golf and then realized how incredibly time consuming and difficult the game is and they left


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#51 Soloman1

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:41 PM

I'm going to quote Clint Eastwood then log off and get some food. :)

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#52 joey2aces

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:48 PM

View PostDJShakes, on 05 August 2016 - 03:45 PM, said:

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 01:05 PM, said:

maybe the millennials that hate the sport do so because it is something that cannot be given to them for free.

Or maybe non-inclusive elitism (listed above) plays a larger factor.

- From a millenial who loves the game, and works hard to afford it.
If you took the time to comprehend what I wrote you'd see that I was answering one of the OP's points.... "millennials seem to hate the game"... it's obvious that you do not fall into that category... since you love the game.

Maybe you should read, comprehend, read again, then answer without your vitriol

Edited by joey2aces, 05 August 2016 - 04:49 PM.

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#53 DJShakes

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:54 PM

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 01:05 PM, said:

He's a great guy and if ya met on the first tee you guys would have a fabulous time

Millenial or not, haha

Have a nice weekend Bro :)

All the Best,
RP

I'm sure he is, and I'm sure we would have a great round.

I'm just illustrating an attitude toward younger golfers that definitely does not help in growing the game. I've noticed this in my two favourite hobbies - golf and fishing - which are dominated by an older crowd.

If people don't feel welcome, they will stay away.

I can't even count the amount of times I've been paired up with older players who look at my friend and I with dread as we walked onto the first tee. I'll admit that at times I have felt unwelcome on the course, which is a feeling nobody wants.
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#54 EdgewoodJones

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:56 PM

View Poststlouismark, on 05 August 2016 - 12:05 PM, said:

We went through a round of "golf is dying" stories a few years ago. Seems like it's coming back again and it's disturbing:

1. Nike quits golf equipment
2. Golfsmith files for bankruptcy
3. Low ratings for PGA tour
4. More research saying left wing Millenials hate the sport.
5. Rounds played down
6. Courses closing, few opening

I'm depressed again!

1)  I like Nike, but I did not care for their equipment.  There are plenty of great golf companies to choose from.
2)  Golfsmith is a horrific store.  Mismanaged from the top down.  I am a fan of any golf company that provides good customer service and knowledge.
3)  Don't care about viewer ratings.  Watching golf and playing golf are unrelated.  I belong to a golf club and very few members watch golf (and its mostly the majors)
4)  I am a high school teacher of 20 years.  Many of former students who golf still do, but sporadically.  Instead, they are Crossfit / fitness guys during the week and they spend a ton of time with their families on the weekends.  Just my opinion, but they appear to be more couples oriented and more involved as parents (especially when compared to my Dad and his generation).  My prediction is as they get older, they will come back to the game.
5)  I used to play more when the price of a round was less expensive.  Some of these courses that gouged golfers at $100 per round back in the day are paying the price now.  For example,  Hiddenbrooke in Vallejo, CA  once hosted an LPGA event.  Now owned by Casper Golf, they currently have traps that are ground under repair due the fact that there is no sand in them.   Its a disgrace.
6)  I don't mind courses closing if it means that the current ones will be profitable and able to maintain its playing conditions.  For example, putting sand in the traps.

Lastly, cheer up.  The game is not going away.

Edited by EdgewoodJones, 05 August 2016 - 04:57 PM.


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#55 DJShakes

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:56 PM

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 04:48 PM, said:

View PostDJShakes, on 05 August 2016 - 03:45 PM, said:

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 01:05 PM, said:

maybe the millennials that hate the sport do so because it is something that cannot be given to them for free.

Or maybe non-inclusive elitism (listed above) plays a larger factor.

- From a millenial who loves the game, and works hard to afford it.
If you took the time to comprehend what I wrote you'd see that I was answering one of the OP's points.... "millennials seem to hate the game"... it's obvious that you do not fall into that category... since you love the game.

Maybe you should read, comprehend, read again, then answer without your vitriol

You're not trying to grow the game by attracting people like me, we're already hooked. Your "vitriol" was clearly guided towards those who haven't picked up the game yet. The exact people we need to grow the sport.

And your comment was not the only one in this thread about millenials "being glued to their smartphones" or other stereotypes directed towards young people. I simply used your quote as an example. Sorry if it rubbed you the wrong way.

Edited by DJShakes, 05 August 2016 - 04:58 PM.

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#56 Forged4ever

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 05:23 PM

View PostDJShakes, on 05 August 2016 - 04:54 PM, said:

View Postjoey2aces, on 05 August 2016 - 01:05 PM, said:

He's a great guy and if ya met on the first tee you guys would have a fabulous time

Millenial or not, haha

Have a nice weekend Bro :)

All the Best,
RP

I'm sure he is, and I'm sure we would have a great round.

I'm just illustrating an attitude toward younger golfers that definitely does not help in growing the game. I've noticed this in my two favourite hobbies - golf and fishing - which are dominated by an older crowd.

If people don't feel welcome, they will stay away.

I can't even count the number of times I've was paired up with older players who look at my friend and I with dread as we walked onto the first tee. I'll admit that at times I have felt unwelcome on the course, which is a feeling nobody wants.
I couldn't agree more with you DJ and there is no excuse for that though unfortunately this is the world that we live in and this is not just a millenial thing because when I was young, and I'm speaking of 18-late 20's, even after I had won back to back Clubs(Championship flight) at the age of 27-28(1987 & 1988) I used to Play in the general "Open" Swat, which was a cap/net game and ran from Pluses(moi) to 25~ plus caps and I did it to meet members older than my circle of friends.

Well, as I was walking down to the first tee I happened to be behind two middle-aged guys, I'd guess late 40-early 50's and they had seen the pairing sheet and the one says to the other, "we got one of these a**h*** kids in our group. You should have to be a voting member to play in this swat."

I was an intermediate member, and had my own number and paid my own bills though a "voting" member was 36yo and older. We get to the tee and the asst. pro who was tge starter went to introduce us. These two goofballs were terrible with the one picking up almost as many as he hit and the other maybe had 2-3 of his shots used, tops.

My conduct and etiquette was impecable because of my Grandmother and Teacher however because of my game, from the time i was 17-18yo, I Played with the "adults"  and it infuriated me because while I never heard anyone else refer to me as such, like you, I could tell by their looks when we were introduced that they had pigeon holed me.

Usually after 3-4 holes, between my game and my conduct, they were good with me but one, I absolutely hated being "judged" on a stereotype and two, I could beat most of their a**** all day every day and had to be their teammate/partner, lol.

All I will say is to take it with a grain of salt, cinsider the source and when you reach middle age, remember how you felt and don't be the man that these men you speak of are.

You appear to be a bright, articulate Class act and I don't think that you'll have a problem with that :)

Keep the faith Bro:)

Fairways & Greens 4ever My Friend,
Richard

Edited by Forged4ever, 05 August 2016 - 05:59 PM.

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#57 tannyhoban

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 05:41 PM

Rounds are up this year, even in our area according to NGF.  Equipment market is supersaturated, fallout shouldn't be surprising.

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#58 scythe23

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:01 PM

View Poststlouismark, on 05 August 2016 - 12:41 PM, said:

View PostDaRiz, on 05 August 2016 - 12:26 PM, said:

My opinion is that TMAG and Cally oversaturated the market, and other companies felt that they had to keep up in order to maintain a market share. The only problem is that TMAG and Cally don't really make a whole bunch of profit, so it is idiotic to try to copy their business model. The market is not growing like other markets are, which is the root cause of it all. Can't keep adding companies with multiple product launches per year to the mix when there is a finite number of customers.

I don't think what happens in the equipment market matters one lick to what happens in the overall golfing industry. Yeah, it would be great if there was a large enough user base to support places like Golfsmith, but there isn't and guess what, we are all still going to buy golf clubs.

Once the game starts to grow with actual participants, we will see another growth in the equipment market. And they will probably overestimate the growth again, and the whole cycle will repeat itself.

When/how do you see participation growing again? Liberal Millenials aren't into it.....maybe the generation born around 2000 and after?


Left wing Liberal Millennia's will soon start to realize that nobody is actually going to give them free stuff and get real jobs.  When that happens and they start working for their money they are going to rethink a lot of their philosophies real quick and we will have a lot less Left Wing Millennia's...hence more golfers :)

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#59 cohenfive

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 07:06 PM

I agree with other comments here that golf isn't dying, but is going through a down cycle. I agree that Tiger's fall has had a lot to do with it, but not everything. Demographic and political shifts, etc. The club companies set themselves up for this fall...and with one major company gone, and others admitting things aren't going well, you will likely see some changes in their business model. Probably means less new models, and possibly higher prices if they really adjust production to sales better. Then again, clubs are already pretty darn expensive.

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#60 Jackal66

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 07:14 PM

In my area ( NW Arkansas), it has slowed down.
Really it seems more like, the final cut. The people that want to play golf are there. The ones that just want to ride in a cart and drink beer, or show off their clubs hanging in their garage, are dropping out.
My Son is 12 years old.  Only 2 or 3 kids his age play . He started when he was 4. It was be because me and my Father-in-law both play.
Also, we have a 6 acre area mowed nicely, to practice in.
Some of the kids in town don't have enough yard to practice,  not enough driving ranges, no one to drive them 18 miles to the next town to practice.
  Some of the kids ask us about it. Then later they say their parents say it's too expensive.
It's easier to get a $10 basketball or football, and  go play in the schoolyard.
Plus, television constantly has basketball ( LeBron James, Kevin Durant, etc), and football stars everywhere.
The only golfer most kids can name is Tiger.
I believe when it all settles, the ones that truly love golf ( don't care who is on TV), will still be there.


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