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At what point will the decline of golf be irreversible...


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#241 Pepperturbo

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Edited by Pepperturbo, 12 September 2017 - 02:10 PM.

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#242 melo

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:22 PM

View PostFerguson, on 12 September 2017 - 01:56 PM, said:

View Postchippa13, on 12 September 2017 - 01:40 PM, said:

And yet most guys I know who fall in the 30-39 age group and middle income do golf.

Then I must be wrong.

While I question their methods, the statistics say that the greatest number of golfers are 30-39 (mind you, that's the majority of the people who play golf, not the demographic whom play the most rounds). They also say that 60% of people who golf make more than 75k a year...which speaks to your consideration of middle income golfers. I do think people who are 30-39 and even millennials will play, I just don't think they will play frequently enough to off set the loss of rounds as baby boomers die. Will they play more as they age, maybe. However, I think we are quickly trending towards the end of social security, and the number of job related pensions are quickly dwindling, thus people will WORK until they are older, and will be afforded less and time and money to play than today's retirement generation. My true concern for golf is in 20 years, when the baby boomers are all but gone, and my generation (I'm 37 now and will have 2 kids in college around that time) will not have the disposable income to spend on golf, nor the time.
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#243 melo

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.
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#244 Ferguson

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:34 PM

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.


I love the way the OP chimes in and clarifies things.  
Well done.



Moderate price points?   Never.  

The entire industry practices price fixing and gouging.

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#245 melo

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:45 PM

View PostFerguson, on 12 September 2017 - 02:34 PM, said:

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.


I love the way the OP chimes in and clarifies things.  
Well done.



Moderate price points?   Never.  

The entire industry practices price fixing and gouging.

That's a fair point...golf club pricing is such an odd practice to me, especially as the brick and mortar stores are demolished by web based sales.

When I say moderate, I was speaking more to the cost of green fees. And I say this with a particular world view, which shapes what each of us thinks and how we perceive things. My belief is that current generations (non boomers), are going to work until they are 70-75. They will not have social security, they will have limited pensions, and they will face more expensive health care with higher out of pocket costs as they age. They will continue to have children later in life, which will then trickle into paying for college, weddings, cars, etc. at an age where current boomers are shoring up their retirement accounts. If I'm 55 or 60 and have an 18 and 20 year old to put through college, what are the odds I am playing a bunch of golf? I just don't see the current state of the game (whether you believe it is in a good place, or bad) to be sustainable into the future given the current and future economic certainties. That also does not even account for the drastic difference in what millennials enjoy doing, their attention span, the IMMENSE value of land, challenges with water/irrigation, etc.

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#246 Pepperturbo

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:55 PM

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.

I responded to someone else, and agreed with him.

But to you point.  If you've ever been on the BOD of a nice club and managed what goes into maintaining a club, decisions and cost wise, you'd then know what goes into a moderately priced muni club and know why it can never be moderately priced, fully accessible, sport.  Additionally, why many courses are upside down, facing BK or acquisition.

I am acquainted with a few people that own muni and mid-to-high level courses.  One owner is currently concerned about losing the course or selling it off for development.  The owner has tried to keep the club reasonably priced and accessible, but revenue from play isn't covering monthly operational costs, and golfers are not spending nearly enough in the club house to cover staff costs.

The only way golf can be as you request, is for a benevolent dictator or entity to not take investment profits or compensation, and cover monthly negative operational costs so the course remains in the black; yet green fees can be discounted at moderate prices, as opposed to their actual cost. :beach:

Edited by Pepperturbo, 12 September 2017 - 03:00 PM.

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#247 Cool Hand Luke

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:02 PM

this thread has been fairly balanced compared to a lot of the prior ones asking similar quesitons....

if I had to give one answer to the OP's title question I would say: the minute quality home golf simulators become affordable (<$500) for the every day Joe. Virtual Reality is where millenials and genZ want to be anyway.
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#248 melo

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:18 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:55 PM, said:

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.

I responded to someone else, and agreed with him.

But to you point.  If you've ever been on the BOD of a nice club and managed what goes into maintaining a club, decisions and cost wise, you'd then know what goes into a moderately priced muni club and know why it can never be moderately priced, fully accessible, sport.  Additionally, why many courses are upside down, facing BK or acquisition.

I am acquainted with a few people that own muni and mid-to-high level courses.  One owner is currently concerned about losing the course or selling it off for development.  The owner has tried to keep the club reasonably priced and accessible, but revenue from play isn't covering monthly operational costs, and golfers are not spending nearly enough in the club house to cover staff costs.

The only way golf can be as you request, is for a benevolent dictator or entity to not take investment profits or compensation, and cover monthly negative operational costs so the course remains in the black; yet green fees can be discounted at moderate prices, as opposed to their actual cost. :beach:

Well, let's give a real world example. I live in North Carolina, and there are probably 20 courses with 30 minutes of me where I can play for $50 or less on a weekend. That to me, is pretty moderate. Those courses have all survived thus far, because of a very large senior golf population in my area. There are senior groups/clubs/etc at every course, and they play all the time. The tee sheets are fairly full for about 10 months per year, and the conditions are pretty solid.

In 20 years, when those seniors have died off or stopped playing, they will need to be replaced. Now, they can be replaced in one of 2 ways. 1, my generation and the next gen after mine start playing more golf in their elder years as their fathers and grandfathers did. I do NOT see this happening, for a whole host of reasons I have mentioned. 2, they can be replaced by 10 times as many people playing golf 1/10 of the amount the average player is playing now. If neither of these happens, then MANY courses will end up just as the courses you described. Prices either need to go up, or courses close, or they become private, etc. In order to stop that from happening, one of the two options I laid out would have to occur.
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#249 Ferguson

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:51 PM

Maybe if we pinpoint the start of the the decline it will tell us how far to the bottom?

Let's not forget many of these people 10 years ago during the golf boom that were "trying the golf" were also using their HELOC as an ATM machine.  The endless cash machine of equity they called it.  When it dried up (with a run of bad home loans) is exactly the point in time when we started to see the decline of golf.  We are seeing the long term effects.  

We are, by my best guess, 5-6 years to the bottom.

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#250 Sun Devil

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 05:06 PM

As with every business ..... golf has changed (less popularity) in large part due to the recession.  People's spending habits are different now with more emphasis on saving rather than spending.  This is changing though as the economy is cyclical.  There were too many golf courses and now we are in a correction mode.

As for the Tiger effect.  Whether or not he comes back will be irrelevant in my opinion.  He is old news at this point.  I would think most of his fans have moved on and are looking for the "next" big thing.  Same with the millennials.  I'm sure they have moved on from the Tiger era as history inevitably does.

Golf is not dead nor will it die.  It is a unique recreation that people of any age can play.

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#251 golfer07840

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:14 PM

View Postatteberry23, on 12 September 2017 - 09:28 AM, said:

I think as people get older they golf more.  It is an expensive sport.  

I honestly think football might go before golf.  When football goes, you will get more golfers.
Your first point is accurate. The second point... No.

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#252 golfer07840

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:26 PM

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:45 PM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 12 September 2017 - 02:34 PM, said:

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.


I love the way the OP chimes in and clarifies things.  
Well done.



Moderate price points?   Never.  

The entire industry practices price fixing and gouging.

That's a fair point...golf club pricing is such an odd practice to me, especially as the brick and mortar stores are demolished by web based sales.

When I say moderate, I was speaking more to the cost of green fees. And I say this with a particular world view, which shapes what each of us thinks and how we perceive things. My belief is that current generations (non boomers), are going to work until they are 70-75. They will not have social security, they will have limited pensions, and they will face more expensive health care with higher out of pocket costs as they age. They will continue to have children later in life, which will then trickle into paying for college, weddings, cars, etc. at an age where current boomers are shoring up their retirement accounts. If I'm 55 or 60 and have an 18 and 20 year old to put through college, what are the odds I am playing a bunch of golf? I just don't see the current state of the game (whether you believe it is in a good place, or bad) to be sustainable into the future given the current and future economic certainties. That also does not even account for the drastic difference in what millennials enjoy doing, their attention span, the IMMENSE value of land, challenges with water/irrigation, etc.
Thank God I had my 3 kids early in life. I'm 44 and two of the three are in college. Third one goes in 4 yrs. 48 and an empty nest!

Now I did pay for this early on. I barely golfed during the Tiger boom (1999-2008) in fact I went 8 years without ever playing a round. But now? Golf now more than ever.

The wife and i cringe when we are out and see a couple our age and they are dealing with kids in the toddler to 4th grade age.

In fact a friend of mine is going thru this now. 2 little kids in his late 30s, and still has scores on his last 20 rounds played from 2013. I told him this would happen; he didn't believe me.

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#253 HatsForBats

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:38 AM

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:45 PM, said:

That's a fair point...golf club pricing is such an odd practice to me, especially as the brick and mortar stores are demolished by web based sales.

When I say moderate, I was speaking more to the cost of green fees. And I say this with a particular world view, which shapes what each of us thinks and how we perceive things. My belief is that current generations (non boomers), are going to work until they are 70-75. They will not have social security, they will have limited pensions, and they will face more expensive health care with higher out of pocket costs as they age. They will continue to have children later in life, which will then trickle into paying for college, weddings, cars, etc. at an age where current boomers are shoring up their retirement accounts. If I'm 55 or 60 and have an 18 and 20 year old to put through college, what are the odds I am playing a bunch of golf? I just don't see the current state of the game (whether you believe it is in a good place, or bad) to be sustainable into the future given the current and future economic certainties. That also does not even account for the drastic difference in what millennials enjoy doing, their attention span, the IMMENSE value of land, challenges with water/irrigation, etc.

You are worrying way too much and over thinking it. Golf will be fine for your lifetime. It will retract and expand and retract but we aren't nearly at a point where the end is foreseeable and I doubt it will be for your kids or theirs.

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#254 Ferguson

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:46 AM

View PostHatsForBats, on 13 September 2017 - 09:38 AM, said:

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:45 PM, said:

That's a fair point...golf club pricing is such an odd practice to me, especially as the brick and mortar stores are demolished by web based sales.

When I say moderate, I was speaking more to the cost of green fees. And I say this with a particular world view, which shapes what each of us thinks and how we perceive things. My belief is that current generations (non boomers), are going to work until they are 70-75. They will not have social security, they will have limited pensions, and they will face more expensive health care with higher out of pocket costs as they age. They will continue to have children later in life, which will then trickle into paying for college, weddings, cars, etc. at an age where current boomers are shoring up their retirement accounts. If I'm 55 or 60 and have an 18 and 20 year old to put through college, what are the odds I am playing a bunch of golf? I just don't see the current state of the game (whether you believe it is in a good place, or bad) to be sustainable into the future given the current and future economic certainties. That also does not even account for the drastic difference in what millennials enjoy doing, their attention span, the IMMENSE value of land, challenges with water/irrigation, etc.

You are worrying way too much and over thinking it. Golf will be fine for your lifetime. It will retract and expand and retract but we aren't nearly at a point where the end is foreseeable and I doubt it will be for your kids or theirs.


You can't know this!


EASTMAN KODAK and BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO thought the same thing.  
Now, they're gone.  The industry went DIGITAL.


Golf will be around but it will be played in a dramatically different manner.  The silicone valley boys are already working on virtual golf to be played in a room, not on a course.   The game will go DIGITAL.

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#255 Golfnuck

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:00 AM

"Golf will be around but it will be played in a dramatically different manner.  The silicone valley boys are already working on virtual golf to be played in a room, not on a course.   The game will go DIGITAL. "

If you are implying that eventually all golf courses will disappear and the game will only be played indoors on a screen, I disagree.

Unless the climate has changed so much that mankind cannot exist outdoors.

IMHO golf is not really a game for the masses. During the Tiger era a massive effort was made to engage the middle class into playing golf.

Golf will revert back to mainly a sport for the upper middle class.

Private clubs will survive. There will always be enough upper middle class golfers with the time and money to support them.


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#256 melo

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:04 AM

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 11:00 AM, said:

"Golf will be around but it will be played in a dramatically different manner.  The silicone valley boys are already working on virtual golf to be played in a room, not on a course.   The game will go DIGITAL. "

If you are implying that eventually all golf courses will disappear and the game will only be played indoors on a screen, I disagree.

Unless the climate has changed so much that mankind cannot exist outdoors.

IMHO golf is not really a game for the masses. During the Tiger era a massive effort was made to engage the middle class into playing golf.

Golf will revert back to mainly a sport for the upper middle class.

Private clubs will survive. There will always be enough upper middle class golfers with the time and money to support them.

Your post perfectly encapsulates my concern. In your example, the decline of golf cannot be reversed. If we eventually get back to golf being a sport played only by the elite, mostly in private clubs, then golf as we know it, is dead. Not everyone who loves golf is an upper class citizen. Some people who currently play frequently, would be completely priced out of the game if a great enough decline in total rounds occurs.
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#257 Ferguson

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:30 AM

View Postmelo, on 13 September 2017 - 11:04 AM, said:

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 11:00 AM, said:

"Golf will be around but it will be played in a dramatically different manner.  The silicone valley boys are already working on virtual golf to be played in a room, not on a course.   The game will go DIGITAL. "

If you are implying that eventually all golf courses will disappear and the game will only be played indoors on a screen, I disagree.

Unless the climate has changed so much that mankind cannot exist outdoors.

IMHO golf is not really a game for the masses. During the Tiger era a massive effort was made to engage the middle class into playing golf.

Golf will revert back to mainly a sport for the upper middle class.

Private clubs will survive. There will always be enough upper middle class golfers with the time and money to support them.

Your post perfectly encapsulates my concern. In your example, the decline of golf cannot be reversed. If we eventually get back to golf being a sport played only by the elite, mostly in private clubs, then golf as we know it, is dead. Not everyone who loves golf is an upper class citizen. Some people who currently play frequently, would be completely priced out of the game if a great enough decline in total rounds occurs.


We're all on the same page, generally.

The game (that is played on physical courses) will never go away completely.   It will be reserved for the upper middle, and upper classes.  Agreed 100%.

However, golf's overall popularity is declining in its current form.  No one can dispute that.   Therefore, as history has shown with other services, it will be replaced by something else.  That something else is DIGITAL.  The Millennials love DIGITAL and in 5 years time DIGITAL will own their share of wallet.

Edited by Ferguson, 13 September 2017 - 11:30 AM.


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#258 HatsForBats

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:05 PM

View PostFerguson, on 13 September 2017 - 11:30 AM, said:

View Postmelo, on 13 September 2017 - 11:04 AM, said:

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 11:00 AM, said:

"Golf will be around but it will be played in a dramatically different manner.  The silicone valley boys are already working on virtual golf to be played in a room, not on a course.   The game will go DIGITAL. "

If you are implying that eventually all golf courses will disappear and the game will only be played indoors on a screen, I disagree.

Unless the climate has changed so much that mankind cannot exist outdoors.

IMHO golf is not really a game for the masses. During the Tiger era a massive effort was made to engage the middle class into playing golf.

Golf will revert back to mainly a sport for the upper middle class.

Private clubs will survive. There will always be enough upper middle class golfers with the time and money to support them.

Your post perfectly encapsulates my concern. In your example, the decline of golf cannot be reversed. If we eventually get back to golf being a sport played only by the elite, mostly in private clubs, then golf as we know it, is dead. Not everyone who loves golf is an upper class citizen. Some people who currently play frequently, would be completely priced out of the game if a great enough decline in total rounds occurs.


We're all on the same page, generally.

The game (that is played on physical courses) will never go away completely.   It will be reserved for the upper middle, and upper classes.  Agreed 100%.

However, golf's overall popularity is declining in its current form.  No one can dispute that.   Therefore, as history has shown with other services, it will be replaced by something else.  That something else is DIGITAL.  The Millennials love DIGITAL and in 5 years time DIGITAL will own their share of wallet.

I just don't see it until we get to the point where there are too many people and not enough land or if it becomes dangerous to play outdoors. Get anyone, including a millennial, on a real course versus the digital version and there are going to be big enough differences that they will choose the outdoor version. Heck, a local course already has 10 bays of simulators for winter leagues and the rest of the year they don't get much use unless the weather is very bad or when it starts getting dark earlier. Even with advances in the technology, which I think is very good now, it still won't replicate the experience of playing on an actual course.

It is not the same as going from capturing photos on film to capturing them on a digital device where you end up with arguable the same result.

For arguments sake let's say the digital version gets much, much better who is to say the golf courses cannot capitalize on that? I can see them building better simulation rooms that better replicate the experience of playing outdoors rather than hitting strictly off a mat for every shot into a screen. Even then I am betting people will still choose the outdoor option more often.

Don't underestimate the ability to adapt if things change. Something Kodak and Blockbuster failed to do.

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#259 chippa13

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:08 PM

If that were true then Tiger Woods golf on the Wii system should have killed golf about 10 years ago.

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#260 Ferguson

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:21 PM

View Postchippa13, on 13 September 2017 - 01:08 PM, said:

If that were true then Tiger Woods golf on the Wii system should have killed golf about 10 years ago.


12-15 years ago there were no video screen monitors in stores to demo new clubs.   Now, people can walk into a store, demo clubs by hitting into a screen and walk out with a club.    Ring goes the cash register.    

Add the sights, the sounds and even the smells in a virtual environment with no waiting on the tee, no weather and no punched greens and you have a new market for golf.  I would not support it or play it, but it’s coming.   Same thing is in the works for tropical vacations.


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#261 Golfnuck

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:50 PM

View PostFerguson, on 13 September 2017 - 11:30 AM, said:

View Postmelo, on 13 September 2017 - 11:04 AM, said:

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 11:00 AM, said:

"Golf will be around but it will be played in a dramatically different manner.  The silicone valley boys are already working on virtual golf to be played in a room, not on a course.   The game will go DIGITAL. "

If you are implying that eventually all golf courses will disappear and the game will only be played indoors on a screen, I disagree.

Unless the climate has changed so much that mankind cannot exist outdoors.

IMHO golf is not really a game for the masses. During the Tiger era a massive effort was made to engage the middle class into playing golf.

Golf will revert back to mainly a sport for the upper middle class.

Private clubs will survive. There will always be enough upper middle class golfers with the time and money to support them.

Your post perfectly encapsulates my concern. In your example, the decline of golf cannot be reversed. If we eventually get back to golf being a sport played only by the elite, mostly in private clubs, then golf as we know it, is dead. Not everyone who loves golf is an upper class citizen. Some people who currently play frequently, would be completely priced out of the game if a great enough decline in total rounds occurs.


We're all on the same page, generally.

The game (that is played on physical courses) will never go away completely.   It will be reserved for the upper middle, and upper classes.  Agreed 100%.

However, golf's overall popularity is declining in its current form.  No one can dispute that.   Therefore, as history has shown with other services, it will be replaced by something else.  That something else is DIGITAL.  The Millennials love DIGITAL and in 5 years time DIGITAL will own their share of wallet.

Golf's popularity into the main stream of sport was a short diversion from the norm.

Had it not been for Tiger golf would have stay a sport of the upper middle class.

Going back to a sport of the upper middle class is where it is headed.

It takes money (lots more in the future as the price of land goes up) and time.

Both of which the upper middle class with always have as they head into their 50s.

I don't agree with the comment that the decline will never reversed. It will reach a natural equilibrium at some point.

Here in my area golf is not declining. Our club has 30 plus on the wait list. We also have a wait list for intermediate members (under 35).

Edited by Golfnuck, 13 September 2017 - 01:54 PM.


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#262 Pepperturbo

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:03 PM

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 03:18 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:55 PM, said:

View Postmelo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 12 September 2017 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 06 September 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I don't chime in on this topic much, but I'm feeling a little frisky this morning....

I worked in the whitewater kayak and rafting industry for most of my adult life.  The "industry" tries to get you to buy-in on how to "grow the sport" i.e. "grow their bottom line."  One day at the big trade show, after languoring around the peripheral of this sport for 12 or 15 years, I'm listening to this top dog go through the whole rigmarole for the upteen time, and yet out of nowhere, I have an original thought....

I don't care.

I don't care if whitewater ever grows.  I don't care if golf ever grows.  Just because I like something doesn't mean that everyone needs to like it.  I don't make any money off of golf, and those who do chose their own poison as we all do.

I looked at the guy and said, "you know, we participate in a sport where flipping upside down under water while confined in a tiny boat and being deprived of air, not to mention wracking your head off of rocks, is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are never going to be into that..."

He looked at me as if I was speaking Greek.

We dress up in funny clothes and herd a little white ball towards a hole that is only 2.5 times the width of the little white ball.  Just plainly not for everyone.  That's okay.  Even part of the charm, maybe.

I agree!  As golfers its NOT our responsibility to grow the game.  All we're charged with is representing the great game of golf.  Done though behavior and how we play the game as others watch.  It can have either a positive or negative affect on someone that just took up the game.  Past that, its not my responsibility if people see the game for what it does for me.

Growing the game is not what I am talking about...maintaining the game with reasonable access at a moderate price point is what I am talking about.

I responded to someone else, and agreed with him.

But to you point.  If you've ever been on the BOD of a nice club and managed what goes into maintaining a club, decisions and cost wise, you'd then know what goes into a moderately priced muni club and know why it can never be moderately priced, fully accessible, sport.  Additionally, why many courses are upside down, facing BK or acquisition.

I am acquainted with a few people that own muni and mid-to-high level courses.  One owner is currently concerned about losing the course or selling it off for development.  The owner has tried to keep the club reasonably priced and accessible, but revenue from play isn't covering monthly operational costs, and golfers are not spending nearly enough in the club house to cover staff costs.

The only way golf can be as you request, is for a benevolent dictator or entity to not take investment profits or compensation, and cover monthly negative operational costs so the course remains in the black; yet green fees can be discounted at moderate prices, as opposed to their actual cost. :beach:

Well, let's give a real world example. I live in North Carolina, and there are probably 20 courses with 30 minutes of me where I can play for $50 or less on a weekend. That to me, is pretty moderate. Those courses have all survived thus far, because of a very large senior golf population in my area. There are senior groups/clubs/etc at every course, and they play all the time. The tee sheets are fairly full for about 10 months per year, and the conditions are pretty solid.

In 20 years, when those seniors have died off or stopped playing, they will need to be replaced. Now, they can be replaced in one of 2 ways. 1, my generation and the next gen after mine start playing more golf in their elder years as their fathers and grandfathers did. I do NOT see this happening, for a whole host of reasons I have mentioned. 2, they can be replaced by 10 times as many people playing golf 1/10 of the amount the average player is playing now. If neither of these happens, then MANY courses will end up just as the courses you described. Prices either need to go up, or courses close, or they become private, etc. In order to stop that from happening, one of the two options I laid out would have to occur.

Lots of sound good, conjecture.  :)  Not sure any of it has merit.  In CA, AZ and TX, I am acquainted with plenty of millennial's that want to play golf a lot more.  But they keep priorities in order, caring for families first and build careers.  In other words, golf in the future will be what its been in the past.  A costly sport that's gradually taken up as disposable income grows and time allows.
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#263 new2g0lf

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:37 PM

Prices have gone up for most recreational activities.  A movie at the new fancy 4D theater with motorized recliners along with some popcorn and a soda costs more than a round of golf on Long Island so I don't know where the price of golf has gotten out of line with the average persons budget.  

People will spend money on what's important to them, I know people that cry poverty but somehow find the money to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day at $13 a pack.  If they gave up smoking they'd have plenty of money for golf.

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#264 HatsForBats

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:54 AM

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

Had it not been for Tiger golf would have stay a sport of the upper middle class.

Maybe it depends on your area. Long before Tiger there were plenty of places in my area with a lot a of Lower-Middle and Middle-Middle Class income players.

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#265 duffer987

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:14 AM

View PostHatsForBats, on 14 September 2017 - 07:54 AM, said:

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

Had it not been for Tiger golf would have stay a sport of the upper middle class.

Maybe it depends on your area. Long before Tiger there were plenty of places in my area with a lot a of Lower-Middle and Middle-Middle Class income players.

That area (Greater Vancouver) has plenty of people of all income stratas playing the game, both pre and post Tiger.
I don't know what qualifies as 'upper-middle', but there are loads of folks on the tee sheets at munis and modest public tracks each Sat/Sun from start time to late morning, that weren't moved by Tiger to get out there.

If anything it could be this 'upper-middle' that is taking the hit, as it seems to be those upper-ish daily fee courses, that don't qualify as destination courses per se, that struggle more than where the hoi polloi was going before and after Tiger.

Edited by duffer987, 14 September 2017 - 09:30 AM.


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#266 uitar9

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 11:20 AM

View Postduffer987, on 14 September 2017 - 09:14 AM, said:

View PostHatsForBats, on 14 September 2017 - 07:54 AM, said:

View PostGolfnuck, on 13 September 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

Had it not been for Tiger golf would have stay a sport of the upper middle class.

Maybe it depends on your area. Long before Tiger there were plenty of places in my area with a lot a of Lower-Middle and Middle-Middle Class income players.

That area (Greater Vancouver) has plenty of people of all income stratas playing the game, both pre and post Tiger.
I don't know what qualifies as 'upper-middle', but there are loads of folks on the tee sheets at munis and modest public tracks each Sat/Sun from start time to late morning, that weren't moved by Tiger to get out there.

If anything it could be this 'upper-middle' that is taking the hit, as it seems to be those upper-ish daily fee courses, that don't qualify as destination courses per se, that struggle more than where the hoi polloi was going before and after Tiger.

1. There  are too many golf courses for the current number of  golfers. Residential housing developers greed is never ending.
2. If I had the money, and place for it, I would buy a simulator for the house during the winter. It beats beating balls in a concrete indoor range at minus 25 C. Perhaps ,millennials will play more digital golf.

As another forumite indicated, I just don't care.

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