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Sooooo, is golf dying?


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#61 Haig79

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 08:08 PM

1. Any company that is publicly traded would not want to be into golf.  The growth model is not there for investors.
2. Box stores can't compete with Internet sales.  Overhead costs for retail space and labor is not cheap.
3. Who is going to stay home and watch golf during afternoon hours.  I record it and watch when I can.  This hurts the viewer numbers.
4. More diversity in things to do.  Lots of kids never go outdoors.  I have seen more kids walking around in the last month with the release of Pokemon Go.  Heck in the 70s we only had 6 on High School Golf Team.  I see more kids taking lessons on the golf team where I now live.  We also have way more golf courses within 30 miles now.
5. Times changing, lots more to occupy our time.  Think about 30 years ago you could go to the beach and there were few people there.  Now it is covered up and you can't find a spot of seclusion.  Same with lakes.
6. Courses are always closing.  They need to run lean.  They have to be managed correctly.  We have some courses here that could remove over half the traps that are never in play.  They make the hole look nice, but there are too many in the 150 to 200 yard range. Then they have duplicates in the 240 to 300 yard range.  Waste of money in my book.

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#62 deetsal

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 08:58 PM

Golf is going through a correction, by both courses and companies.  It is like living in a city that is booming, everyone and their brother moved in to take advantage of the jobs and lifestyle, then when there are too many people jobs are hard to get, social services are stained so people start to move out.  The industry has too many entities vying for too few dollars, participants, so now only the strong will survive.

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#63 EKELLY

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:11 PM

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.
Nike never took off, and Tiger/Rory didn't translate to club sales. Nike has 1 down year, and throws in the towel........Kudos to them to seeing the trend.......Everyone has a niche in the game of golf, clubs weren't Nike's.......

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#64 finleysg

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:13 PM

Nobody plays golf any more. The courses are all too crowded.
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#65 EKELLY

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:17 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.
Couldn't have said that better myself........Surprises me to the max that Tiger/Rory never generated big equipment sales........


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#66 RecidivistGOLFER

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:17 PM

Golf is an upper middle class game.  It goes through ebbs and flows based on the economy and golf heroes.  Tiger did for golf what Jordan did for the NBA.  

That's not the norm though.

I'm returning to the fame after 15 years off, as are pretty much all of my college buddies.  The guys I play with are mostly new to it.


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#67 bill.ig

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 10:01 PM

I've been playing since the mid-80's and golf was a niche sport then and remains so today. Perhaps in the Tiger years it wasn't a niche sport but I don't the know the numbers to judge it. It will remain a niche sport for as long as I can see and you all have well articulated the reasons above.

I'd be interested in comparing the golf industry participation rates compared to tennis, for example.

I don't see it dying though. It is a sport where you can spend several hours outdoors with your close friends and get some exercise. Or alternatively ride in a cart and drink beer. All good.

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#68 Conrad1953

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 10:12 PM

Just be glad you lived in the golf era. Years from now when the government is growing
soybeans on the land to feed the masses the people will look back in envy at all of us.
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#69 deetsal

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 10:03 AM

View PostConrad1953, on 05 August 2016 - 10:12 PM, said:

Just be glad you lived in the golf era. Years from now when the government is growing
soybeans on the land to feed the masses the people will look back in envy at all of us.
They will have us in the rice patties soon enough.

Edited by deetsal, 06 August 2016 - 10:03 AM.


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#70 hoosiervolunteer

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 10:34 AM

This is simple market correction, so I don't understand why people are so surprised.  I think the days of the brick and mortar golf specialty shops are over.  Too many buyers are going in to Golfsmith/Golf Galaxy and using the simulators to find a club and then ordering online.  That fixed overhead cost is too much to bear when the transaction walks out the door empty handed.  Ask the electronic stores how much they like people looking at their wall of TV's before ordering online after they decide which one they like best.

I'm not saying that it is right or wrong for people to do this, but that is a major factor in a company like Golfsmith going bankrupt.  These same customers will cry the loudest when they are forced to go to a demo day once a year or pay a fitting fee up front at the green grass shop.  Brick and mortars should have stopped this practice a long time ago and charged a fee to hit in the simulator.  

The fall of Nike Golf was due to the fact that they kept trying to innovate when they actually had things right early on in the existence with their original blades, Pro Combos, & Slingshots.  They never created an identity because they kept jumping around.

Golf is not dying, but it is contracting.  A side benefit of this is the local green grass shops should see an increase in club purchases.


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#71 jslane57

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 10:43 AM

View PostEKELLY, on 05 August 2016 - 09:17 PM, said:

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.
Couldn't have said that better myself........Surprises me to the max that Tiger/Rory never generated big equipment sales........
Tiger and Rory sold a ton of hats! Quite a few shirts! But what new person to the game is going to buy full set of top line clubs? Not a single person when you can use your dad's old equipment for free. And give him an excuse to pick up the latest Taylormade product...

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#72 deetsal

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 03:33 PM

Of the 100's of golfers I have never met anyone that gamed Nike clubs.   Hit their blades at a demo day,  did not have a good feel at all.  Just being nice I told the rep that they were nice.  Others at the club tried them and had the same opinion or the clubs.  I felt bad for the rep as other brands were selling many clubs,  him nothing.  Maybe other parts of country or the world buy these.

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#73 EKELLY

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 08:22 PM

The golf BUSINESS has been in trouble for 20 years, yet managed to stay afloat. I have 20 courses within a half hour or so from the house. Course conditions and service are proportional to revenue. Today you almost need an owner okay with breaking even to provide a well conditioned course. I'm was a member at the #5 rated course in Florida. New owners came in, dropped the super, cut the budget, and 50 of us left right away.....course hasn't been anywhere near the same in years.......Guess what?....They just hired him back, and asked if he could regain the previous conditions for 25% less budget..........Not a chance.....

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#74 BEND OF THE RIVER GC

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 08:41 PM

View Postdoublepar93, on 05 August 2016 - 01:25 PM, said:

View Postucmike11, on 05 August 2016 - 01:23 PM, said:

Its not a problem with golf....retail big box stores are closing, no matter the products they sell.  Best Buy, etc.

Why would I buy from Golfsmith if I can find it cheaper online? Amazon.com for the win.
This is very true. A lot of Brick and Mortar stores are falling out.

I dont feel sorry for brick and mortar stores that haven't changed with the times. Remember Blockbuster video? There is absolutely no reason I should buy a new golf bag from Golf Galaxy or Golfsmith when I can find that exact same bag online for no tax and possibly free shipping. Heck, even Golf Galaxy's website undercuts their own brick and mortar stores!Now I may choose to buy that same golf bag from a smaller green grass shop gor $20-30 more to get it "on the spot" and maintain a relationship with a local golf pro.

Edited by BEND OF THE RIVER GC, 06 August 2016 - 08:42 PM.

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#75 thug the bunny

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 10:28 PM

I went to the PGA at Baltusrol a couple weeks ago. Wed round had great crowds andThurs round was packed. $$ flowing everywhere. Golf is just fine.

So there is really only here and now

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#76 Man_O_War

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:07 PM

View PostNevinW, on 05 August 2016 - 01:00 PM, said:

It isn't dying.  The economy hasn't recovered enough and that is the primary problem.  Golfsmith's problems sounds like it is a bunch of bad real estate deals and leases more than anything.  Nike getting out is hardly a surprise.  How many great golf club manufacturers have gone away over the years?  Remember Macgregor, Powerbilt, Wilson (to a lessor extent)?  These were the main club companies when I started playing.  When the economy improves and there is more disposable income, golf will expand again.

obviously then golf isn't a niche sport.. the wealthy and rich and semi rich in the country clubs are doing just fine.  PXG wouldn't be launched if the already existing golfers weren't swimming in it in country clubs etc...but they can't grow golf alone. Golf needs to be grown from the masses..it's not about the economy alone, it's simple outreach, making the game accessible, cheaper, yes.. cheaper, creating new programs..like First Tee....

Edited by Man_O_War, 19 August 2016 - 03:07 PM.

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#77 jslane57

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:25 PM

View PostMan_O_War, on 19 August 2016 - 03:07 PM, said:

View PostNevinW, on 05 August 2016 - 01:00 PM, said:

It isn't dying.  The economy hasn't recovered enough and that is the primary problem.  Golfsmith's problems sounds like it is a bunch of bad real estate deals and leases more than anything.  Nike getting out is hardly a surprise.  How many great golf club manufacturers have gone away over the years?  Remember Macgregor, Powerbilt, Wilson (to a lessor extent)?  These were the main club companies when I started playing.  When the economy improves and there is more disposable income, golf will expand again.

obviously then golf isn't a niche sport.. the wealthy and rich and semi rich in the country clubs are doing just fine.  PXG wouldn't be launched if the already existing golfers weren't swimming in it in country clubs etc...but they can't grow golf alone. Golf needs to be grown from the masses..it's not about the economy alone, it's simple outreach, making the game accessible, cheaper, yes.. cheaper, creating new programs..like First Tee....
Why does golf need to be grown from the masses? It is possible the dying that has been documented of late was thanks to over aggressive greed attached to the game of golf. Making golf cheap and accessible is really just a crutch to help things along, but once the cheap and accessible group have to step it up to expensive and exclusive, won't they just leave? Golf needs to be consistent. If you make it cheap and accessible, it needs to stay that way. Golf was both cheap and accessible and expensive and exclusive. The problem is that the the cheap and accessible courses have gotten the idea in their heads that they need to provide the same product as the expensive and exclusive...

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#78 adam667220

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:49 PM

I may regret saying this, but to the people that are blaming anything on the "left wing millenials" I think that's ridiculous. Regardless of left or right wing, it's not a surprise (and never has been) that the youngest people with the lowest income don't play golf all the time. Yes, some do, but historically the majority of the golf population has never been 20-30 yr olds.

The point that I haven't seen brought up, which will be moreso driven by the "left wing millenials" is that with all the concerns with CTE/brain injury/safety from contact sports, it's actually becoming more popular for people to get their kids into other sports. Most of my friends that all grew up playing football and loved it more than anything, are now pushing their kids into soccer, golf, etc. as an alternative until the safety of players/equipment is improved.
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#79 Sean2

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:05 PM

I like the bricks and mortar stores. And when it comes to irons and wedges, I could never purchase them online. Not many +2 inch irons for sale.

The only golf stuff I purchase online are things I cannot find locally. The only exception being Callaway Pre-owned, where I picked up a couple of last year's hybrids and a driver.

I rather enjoy going into golf shops, looking around, and actually being able to touch and see the merchandise up close and personal.

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#80 bubbagumpshrimp

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:17 PM

View Postjslane57, on 19 August 2016 - 03:25 PM, said:

View PostMan_O_War, on 19 August 2016 - 03:07 PM, said:

View PostNevinW, on 05 August 2016 - 01:00 PM, said:

It isn't dying.  The economy hasn't recovered enough and that is the primary problem.  Golfsmith's problems sounds like it is a bunch of bad real estate deals and leases more than anything.  Nike getting out is hardly a surprise.  How many great golf club manufacturers have gone away over the years?  Remember Macgregor, Powerbilt, Wilson (to a lessor extent)?  These were the main club companies when I started playing.  When the economy improves and there is more disposable income, golf will expand again.

obviously then golf isn't a niche sport.. the wealthy and rich and semi rich in the country clubs are doing just fine.  PXG wouldn't be launched if the already existing golfers weren't swimming in it in country clubs etc...but they can't grow golf alone. Golf needs to be grown from the masses..it's not about the economy alone, it's simple outreach, making the game accessible, cheaper, yes.. cheaper, creating new programs..like First Tee....
Why does golf need to be grown from the masses? It is possible the dying that has been documented of late was thanks to over aggressive greed attached to the game of golf. Making golf cheap and accessible is really just a crutch to help things along, but once the cheap and accessible group have to step it up to expensive and exclusive, won't they just leave? Golf needs to be consistent. If you make it cheap and accessible, it needs to stay that way. Golf was both cheap and accessible and expensive and exclusive. The problem is that the the cheap and accessible courses have gotten the idea in their heads that they need to provide the same product as the expensive and exclusive...

Golf is not dying. It's going through a period of correction.   That is to say that it is simply going back to where it was prior to Tiger Woods coming on the scene. ex. Nike whoring themselves out for a buck to make golf equipment.  Those clowns can't even make a decent pair of shoes  (ex. You can have any shoes you want as long as they're a medium width) and they want me to drop $800+ on something (ex. Irons) with their name on it? Lol.

Edit: I've yet to roll up to a golf course this year during peak hours and find an empty course.  Golf is not dying.  What's going by the wayside...as was already mentioned...are unsustainable business models.  ex. Golfsmith.  Cool store, but every time I go in there...the place is dead.  It's not a shock that they're having issues.

Edited by bubbagumpshrimp, 19 August 2016 - 04:20 PM.


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#81 Man_O_War

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:48 PM

View Postadam667220, on 19 August 2016 - 03:49 PM, said:

I may regret saying this, but to the people that are blaming anything on the "left wing millenials" I think that's ridiculous. Regardless of left or right wing, it's not a surprise (and never has been) that the youngest people with the lowest income don't play golf all the time. Yes, some do, but historically the majority of the golf population has never been 20-30 yr olds.

The point that I haven't seen brought up, which will be moreso driven by the "left wing millenials" is that with all the concerns with CTE/brain injury/safety from contact sports, it's actually becoming more popular for people to get their kids into other sports. Most of my friends that all grew up playing football and loved it more than anything, are now pushing their kids into soccer, golf, etc. as an alternative until the safety of players/equipment is improved.


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#82 gs1184

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 07:15 PM

In my opinion after seeing the junior golf tournament circuits and also the first tee down in Miami (one of the better first tee locations), golf is doing just fine. There's a nice crop of golfers growing up.
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#83 EKELLY

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:12 PM

View Postjslane57, on 06 August 2016 - 10:43 AM, said:

View PostEKELLY, on 05 August 2016 - 09:17 PM, said:

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.
Couldn't have said that better myself........Surprises me to the max that Tiger/Rory never generated big equipment sales........
Tiger and Rory sold a ton of hats! Quite a few shirts! But what new person to the game is going to buy full set of top line clubs? Not a single person when you can use your dad's old equipment for free. And give him an excuse to pick up the latest Taylormade product...
Which is every 6 months.......LOL

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#84 MtlJeff

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 02:54 PM

View PostSean2, on 19 August 2016 - 04:05 PM, said:

I like the bricks and mortar stores. And when it comes to irons and wedges, I could never purchase them online. Not many +2 inch irons for sale.

The only golf stuff I purchase online are things I cannot find locally. The only exception being Callaway Pre-owned, where I picked up a couple of last year's hybrids and a driver.

I rather enjoy going into golf shops, looking around, and actually being able to touch and see the merchandise up close and personal.

If the rumors i hear are true, there may be no brick and mortar stores in my area within a year or so. I was discussing this with a friend today who has some inside knowledge of our main big box store.

As i stated on page 1 though i am not worried. We have courses going out of business and selling their land. But that's fine....the supply is contracting to meet the demand

It will be interesting though, because it's quite possible the only way to get clubs going forward will be online, or at private golf club pro shops

If what is rumored to happen , does happen. I may buy 2-3 drivers, a couple of iron sets and stuff at the final sale. Just because the closeout deals might be a thing of the past....and that is what needs to happen because they killed the business
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#85 North Butte

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 03:10 PM

I joined a private country club in the early 2000's. We saw a very rapid collapse in the number of rounds played when the economic downturn happened in 2007, followed by a slow-motion crash of the membership numbers over the next couple of years. I was away from that club for a while until I recently rejoined and it looks to me like the number of members has increase, not quite to pre-2007 levels but getting close. We probably bottomed out at 50% of peak members and are now back to 80% or so.

The amazing thing is that the number of rounds played has not really recovered at all. Or hardly at all, anyway. It's a mystery to me why people will remain members or new members will join and then play golf very infrequently. I mean ther's a social element to the club but it has always been a golf-first type of membership. Guys who paid $X,XXX in yearly dues back in 2005 and played golf a couple times a week now still pay $X,XXX dues but play golf maybe 20 times a year. Very odd pattern.

Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or rough, but in the end it is full of salt and dead animals.

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#86 VJCLERC

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 03:32 PM

Regards equipment I think golf has gotten too expensive for the ordinary golfer. €1000 plus for a good set of irons. €500 plus for a driver.

I think people are holding onto their clubs longer and buying second hand clubs more and more and thats having an effect.

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#87 Santiago Golf

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 03:51 PM

I might get my head cut off for saying this, but its a good thing golf is losing people. But in trade it gaining the right people.

If golf wants to be taken seriously, the people playing the game need to put an effort it. Thats meaning trying to get better, not sandbagging, letting junior singles join their foursomes, encouraging beginners, playing faster, and finally..

PEOPLE NEED TO STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW WE ARE DYING!!!

I'm tired of hearing that golf is dead. Im 21 years old. Most the people I know who play are serious about their game. It was the same in high school. The kids who played golf, were the ones on the team. Sure, their were others but they played for fun and once in while.

Golf is in good spot. If people think golf is too expensive, they are lying to themselves. You can get a decent set of clubs on ebay for under 200. There are courses out there that are cheap to play, conditions may be bad but theres the trade off.

Stuff like Top Golf, Foot Golf, Play9, Tee it Forward, PGA Junior League, DriveChipPutt, Girls Golf, etc: IS GREAT FOR THE GAME AND WILL GROW IT, if we allow it.

People always want beginner but they complain if they are slowing down their Saturday foursome. People say they want to play better but never take lessons or practice. And play courses from way too long and play equipment that doesn't help their game.

Lets stop making these threads about what wrong with golf or whats can we do to save golf?

How bout we all make a pledge instead to introduce one person to game a golf next year. Weather its your GF, wife, husband, co worker, best friends, child, father, mother, etc. Just get one person you know and introduce them to the game.

If we all did that, golf would grow.

Next time you see a junior playing by himself, invite him/her to join your group, you might be in for a shock how much the younger generation loves golf.

Golf isn't dead, but if we talking about it dying, we might end up killing it.
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#88 doublepar93

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 04:28 PM

View PostMan_O_War, on 19 August 2016 - 04:48 PM, said:

View Postadam667220, on 19 August 2016 - 03:49 PM, said:

I may regret saying this, but to the people that are blaming anything on the "left wing millenials" I think that's ridiculous. Regardless of left or right wing, it's not a surprise (and never has been) that the youngest people with the lowest income don't play golf all the time. Yes, some do, but historically the majority of the golf population has never been 20-30 yr olds.

The point that I haven't seen brought up, which will be moreso driven by the "left wing millenials" is that with all the concerns with CTE/brain injury/safety from contact sports, it's actually becoming more popular for people to get their kids into other sports. Most of my friends that all grew up playing football and loved it more than anything, are now pushing their kids into soccer, golf, etc. as an alternative until the safety of players/equipment is improved.


I don't take offense. I am a proud liberal..frankly not a fan of conservatives at all, doesn't mean I won't tee it up every now and then and tolerate some off the cuff lines. comes with the territory. I agree with you overall
We're the exact opposite, but I think we could play golf together. I am staunch conservative, but will tee it up with whoever. Politics shouldn't determine things like that. As I've said before, golf isn't dying. Im 23,and have a younger brother in early high school. I have noticed lately,a lot of what keeps his friends and himself from pursuing golf is how "hard" it is. They all watch guys like Rory or Tiger play, and expect to go out and do that. When they shoot 120, they lose interest. So it may be hard to get the younger crowd to play but I know plenty of people starting golf all the time.

Edited by doublepar93, 20 August 2016 - 04:32 PM.

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#89 Golfnut801

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 12:31 PM

golf is dying, but it will never die off and disappear.
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#90 Golfnut801

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 12:38 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&amp;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.
You sir have no idea what you are talking about. The reason you stated for Nike going out of business is not even a close to why they got out of the golf business. You rarely seeing Nike equipment means nothing and has nothing to do with anything. I rarely see callaway on the courses I play at. Doesn't mean callaway sucks.  Charging $400-$500 for drivers is what everyone else is charging for their drivers. So why is Nike any different? Oh that's right, it's Nike. The most hated brand in golf. Of course that's why you see it that way.

Edited by Golfnut801, 21 August 2016 - 12:54 PM.

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