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


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#31 tatertot

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:29 PM

Golf has always been for older folks ... Golf wants to go younger to grab more advertising $. It worked when Tiger grabbed their imagination.

Now we're back to the norm. As old golfers die, young people get old, and become golfers. It's a cycle.

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#32 Conrad1953

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:35 PM

View Postmelo, on 21 August 2017 - 05:23 PM, said:

View PostConrad1953, on 21 August 2017 - 03:57 PM, said:

Look at what people invested to see a 3 minute solar eclipse. They
can get a lot of 5 hour rounds for that, lol. Golf will be fine.

People spent a fortune on the eclipse because it is a once in a couple of generations, or even once in a lifetime event depending where you live. Golf is not the same.

Ya, I agree people are screwed up in their priorities. I'd rather enjoy myself
for hours and days and weeks and months and years instead of 3 minutes.
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#33 Medic

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:39 PM

View PostHawkeyeHacker, on 21 August 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

Golf's been around for hundreds of years.  Millennials (which I am) won't kill it.  They'll play more as they get older.  Since millennials are the largest generation maybe golf will be bigger than ever when as this generation comes of age.

This is the single best response I have read on here to this ongoing "golf is dying, the sky is falling" debate.

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#34 SixtySomePing

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 06:08 PM

I would love to be around when millennials get to be my age, but of course I'm sitting here dying by the moment, what with gray hair and all, so I won't be able to. :taunt:
Anyway, I have been around a long time, and I have several millennials who are manufacturing engineers who work for me. They play golf too. I am very proud of them, and if they will be taking over the world of golf in the future, I think it will be in very good shape for a long long time as well.  This is a thought provoking post OP, really golf will continue on, maybe a few tweaks here and there, but don't worry, it won't end up in a museum somewhere... you gotta believe it..

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#35 MtlJeff

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:02 PM

Irreversible doesn't really exist in products/economics.

If there is a market for golf it will exist. I would guess that the amount of courses that exist in my area will probably decrease by 30-40% over the next 10 years. But the ones that remain will fill up. It's just the market adjusting to the new norms. Just like in any industry that over-expands and sees companies buy other companies, except here it's courses selling the land for condos and their members going elsewhere. The courses that remain will be full

There's no "doomsday" scenario right now. When we run out of resources in 50-75 years golf may dissapear. But right now we're blissfully not caring about that.

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#36 RP29

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:34 PM

Because of work I've moved across the country and seldom ever make it back to the town where I grew up. This summer I actually had the opportunity to go and play golf down there, which I had not done in many years.

I visited the golf club where I spent my first  summers as a golfer 20 years ago. Apparently they are having massive issues keeping the lights on and will close at the end of the season if it doesn't get better. I was disappointed to hear that as it was a great little course with standout conditions.

But then I remember why I asked my parents to change clubs one year. The management fired the pro (who later got named top instructor in the country) and basically shut down all Jr programs. The new pro did not like having us out there and it seemed like the "Jr free zone" changed every week without rythme or reason. It was increasingly difficult to get out on the course to play and it was obvious our presence was a nuisance to the older membership.

One year the Jr club championship was over 100 kids but it quickly dwindled down to maybe 20-30.

Anyway remembering all that and playing there this summer I thought of the 100 kids I used to play with and imagined that being in our late 20s/30s they should start showing up on the golf course. Evidently the damage done by antagonizing the jrs in 1999-2005 took its toll.

Another course from my youth I played was busy with youth and adults all over the range putting green and course.

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#37 Soloman1

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:15 PM

Golf is not the only sport in decline, so trying to pin reasons based on just golf isn't the whole story.

Youth participation in soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball have all been in decline in the past five years. Some by as much as 20%.
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#38 Medic

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:20 PM

View PostSoloman1, on 21 August 2017 - 09:15 PM, said:

Golf is not the only sport in decline, so trying to pin reasons based on just golf isn't the whole story.

Youth participation in soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball have all been in decline in the past five years. Some by as much as 20%.

The real question is whether or not this is the very first time in recorded history for those sports that there has been such a decline.

I would imagine that during WW2 all of the sports saw a MAJOR decline the likes of which would make any decline now pale in comparison. But since most things in life are cyclic I cannot help but wonder whether or not this might have happened in the past.
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#39 Soloman1

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:26 PM

The graph of obesity rates is inverse to the decline of sports. The reasons for that may be the things to look at...
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#40 dpark

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:41 PM

As much as I love golf, it will continue to decline for a while. Too many other pursuits (rightly or wrongly) that take up the time from a leisure activity like golf.

Don't think golf will go away any more than other "legacy activities" like tennis or bowling, but it will "right-size" itself (courses closing, equipment manufacturers going out of business etc) to the underlying financials.

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#41 wkuo3

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 09:59 PM

I guess, every corner of this land has it's own merit.

In my corner of the land, which is rated the number 4th in the nation for "economic growth", this is what I have observed for local golf industry.

Many golf courses had changed hands over the last 5 years, including a high end outfit with 10 golf courses.  Sold to an investment group from overseas.

Local City and County are assessing new tax on the City owned municipal golf course, not only just the sales tax of 10.1% but add on another 5% of :City Admission tax = a new 15.1% increase which the managing team does not see a dime.   This may not be a big deal for the occasional golfer, but it'll have a big impact for the retired golfers with fixed income whom like to play golf multiple times per week.
Some of the golfers in my group had quit golfing because of aging and ailment, some had tighter wallet because of the cost of living had out paced the income adjustment.   There is a social group of golfers which had more than 150 members a few years ago had reduced the membership today to less than 50.

Personally, I'd like to get out on the golf courses more than a couple of times a week but..... it's difficult to justify that a round of golf will equal to a slab of prime rib eye to feed the family for a couple of days.  I had already rid of other luxury in life.  I did not have the big screen HD SMART television , no newest smart phone , my vehicle is over 150K ( still looking and running great ), no new business attire for years............ all because I love to get out on the golf course .
However, it seemed the sacrifice is not enough to even afford a few round of golf per week, so, maybe one of these days I will quit playing golf just like some of my friends did.  According to what I had observed, it'll take years to have new golfers hooked on this games, but much easier to free them to other interests in life.

Edited by wkuo3, 21 August 2017 - 10:09 PM.


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#42 CMCSGolf

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:15 AM

View Postmelo, on 21 August 2017 - 05:25 PM, said:

View PostCMCSGolf, on 21 August 2017 - 05:01 PM, said:

As many people have noted, what's the big deal if golf declines a little bit?  Since only a few of us make money on the game, it really shouldn't be a big deal if there are 10 or 20% fewer golfers.  Some courses might close and an equipment company might go out of business, but we'll all still have plenty of great places to play.

I think the desire to "grow the game" largely comes from people making money on it and the organizations in charge.  Do train enthusiasts or Birders or stamp collectors constantly worry about the number of young people enjoying their hobby? I'm sure everyone would like other people to find their past time interesting and should share it with young people if the opportunity exists, but a change in young people's preferences will not mean the end of golf.
The concern is not if golf declines a little bit, it is what if golf declines a LOT. As others have mentioned, there are ebbs and flows. But a dramatically decreased customer base leads to lots of courses closing and the other courses having to increase rates dramatically if they can't fill the tee sheets. We have all seen the impact on lower and mid level private clubs the past few years

Sure, I agree with that.  But is anyone forecasting a 50% decline?  Golf is and has always been a game that is favored by older people with money.  The stats that say 60-70% of golfers are over 40 is not necessarily an indication that golf is going to die because the majority of golfers have always been older.  The concern that younger people are not and will not pick up the game is valid, but is it really going to mean a big (greater than 20%) drop in golfers?  It's certainly possible, but I don't think it's likely in the short term.  

If golf does become far less popular in 50-100 years where half of courses need to close, that's not necessarily bad either.  I'm sure people will find hobbies they find more enjoyable and fit with futuristic lives (like virtual reality games).  I'm not saying I want any of this to happen.  I love golf and will play it for 40 - 50 more years, but if younger people find something they like better, good for them.

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#43 Ferguson

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 05:19 AM

View PostMtlJeff, on 21 August 2017 - 07:02 PM, said:

Irreversible doesn't really exist in products/economics.

If there is a market for golf it will exist. I would guess that the amount of courses that exist in my area will probably decrease by 30-40% over the next 10 years. But the ones that remain will fill up. It's just the market adjusting to the new norms. Just like in any industry that over-expands and sees companies buy other companies, except here it's courses selling the land for condos and their members going elsewhere. The courses that remain will be full

There's no "doomsday" scenario right now. When we run out of resources in 50-75 years golf may dissapear. But right now we're blissfully not caring about that.


Politely, I disagree.   Look at Kodak.

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#44 suprfli6

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:18 AM

View PostSoloman1, on 21 August 2017 - 09:26 PM, said:

The graph of obesity rates is inverse to the decline of sports. The reasons for that may be the things to look at...
Participation rates in high school sports are higher now than they were 25 years ago. And childhood obesity in the US has been generally flat in the last decade, although it is starting to trend higher again but data is limited.

Since we're all posting anecdotes and opinions as if they were facts; I'm a millennial and my golf participation is infinitely higher now than ten years ago so obviously golf is exploding and we need to build as many courses as possible!

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#45 HatsForBats

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:43 AM

View Postmelo, on 21 August 2017 - 02:39 PM, said:

Do any of you think the following things are disrupting the market?

The length of time it takes to play (not whether it takes 4 hours or 4:30, I simply mean the fact that it takes anywhere over 2 hours to play)

The difficulty of learning and playing well

The cost of lessons/instruction and lack of access to quality practice facilities?

No.

Length of time has always been a complaint from a small fraction of people. If they want there are opportunities to play within their time constraints but then they will complain that they have to get up too early or play too late or some other excuse.

Golf has always been difficult for most and I don't see any decline in the number of golfers that do not play well yet love the game. Anyone can learn to hit the ball far enough and well enough to enjoy the game in a reasonable amount of time. If they aren't interested they won't put the minimal amount of effort in to learn to hit the ball well enough.

Golf instruction/lessons are not a requirement to playing well enough for the game to be enjoyable. It is a non-factor. The players that would benefit from quality practice facilities are already bitten by the bug. Any old crappy practice facility is good enough for a beginner.

Curious, are you writing a paper for school or something?


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#46 HatsForBats

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:51 AM

View PostFerguson, on 22 August 2017 - 05:19 AM, said:

Politely, I disagree.   Look at Kodak.

From what perspective? Do you think Golf Simulators or virtual play are going to replace the real thing? People didn't stop taking pictures.

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#47 Roody

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:10 AM

View PostHatsForBats, on 22 August 2017 - 07:51 AM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 22 August 2017 - 05:19 AM, said:

Politely, I disagree.   Look at Kodak.

From what perspective? Do you think Golf Simulators or virtual play are going to replace the real thing? People didn't stop taking pictures.
Coming from someone who lives in Rochester (the home headquarters of Kodak), it's not that people stopped taking pictures. It's more that Kodak failed to get on the changes in technology as fast as its competitors (Fuji, Nikon, etc). Kodak once was the life blood of the Rochester area. These days it's a shell of its former self.
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#48 Ferguson

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:42 AM

View PostRoody, on 22 August 2017 - 08:10 AM, said:

View PostHatsForBats, on 22 August 2017 - 07:51 AM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 22 August 2017 - 05:19 AM, said:

Politely, I disagree.   Look at Kodak.

From what perspective? Do you think Golf Simulators or virtual play are going to replace the real thing? People didn't stop taking pictures.
Coming from someone who lives in Rochester (the home headquarters of Kodak), it's not that people stopped taking pictures. It's more that Kodak failed to get on the changes in technology as fast as its competitors (Fuji, Nikon, etc). Kodak once was the life blood of the Rochester area. These days it's a shell of its former self.

I am a former Rochesterian.   Kodak fueled that city and got caught up in believing that times would never change.  Few people realize that Steve Sasson at Kodak invented digital camera technology.  The idea was shelved for film.  Management had no vision.  


The PGA and USGA need to join forces and create a vision for golf's future.

Edited by Ferguson, 22 August 2017 - 08:43 AM.


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#49 Roody

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:47 AM

And their latest "vision" is this garbage:

https://www.kodakphones.com/us/
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#50 Ferguson

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:00 AM

View PostRoody, on 22 August 2017 - 08:47 AM, said:

And their latest "vision" is this garbage:

https://www.kodakphones.com/us/


Oh my, destined for disaster.  They actually consider it to be a high end phone.  
What does that mean?


Remember the Disc Camera?    It was everything that a consumer product should NOT be.
High cost of production, faulty components and a short lifespan.


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#51 S.A. OSO

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:00 AM

View PostRoody, on 22 August 2017 - 08:47 AM, said:

And their latest "vision" is this garbage:

https://www.kodakphones.com/us/

=======================================================================================

Wow, that product screams of arriving too late for prom.
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#52 ricklinens

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:04 AM

Golf is like the stock market, ups and downs along the way,  but the overall trend since the game first appeared from the link's mist has been upward.
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#53 tw_focus

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:06 AM

When / if TW calls it quits, the decline will be irreversible.

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#54 MrJones

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 10:54 AM

View Posttw_focus, on 22 August 2017 - 09:06 AM, said:

When / if TW calls it quits, the decline will be irreversible.

I have to be honest, I can't imagine that there are people still watching and playing golf only with the hope that Tiger will be back. At this point I'd think most people would assume he's probably done. If he did happen to come back, it would just be a happy surprise, not expected.


I promise to keep playing and taking people to play for at least another 40 years. So I'm doing my part :)
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#55 MtlJeff

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:17 PM

View PostFerguson, on 22 August 2017 - 05:19 AM, said:

View PostMtlJeff, on 21 August 2017 - 07:02 PM, said:

Irreversible doesn't really exist in products/economics.

If there is a market for golf it will exist. I would guess that the amount of courses that exist in my area will probably decrease by 30-40% over the next 10 years. But the ones that remain will fill up. It's just the market adjusting to the new norms. Just like in any industry that over-expands and sees companies buy other companies, except here it's courses selling the land for condos and their members going elsewhere. The courses that remain will be full

There's no "doomsday" scenario right now. When we run out of resources in 50-75 years golf may dissapear. But right now we're blissfully not caring about that.


Politely, I disagree.   Look at Kodak.

Golf companies will certainly go out of business. But people didn't stop taking pictures, I can go online and see Tiger Woods's junk right now!

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#56 Santiago Golf

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:29 PM

Golf will still be golf

If you wanna see increase in the game and other athletic activities then you need to see 3 things happen

1) The government that a serious stance that being overweight isn't disease but people killing themselves (sorry thats what it is)
2) Good Education in school at early age that proper dieting (I prefer the eating lifestyle) and daily fitness are important. This includes more than 2 hours of physical activity for students a day until graduation along with class where they teach to cook healthy meals
3) its not okay to be lazy and spend all day in bed
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#57 dlygrisse

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:32 PM

Many people pick up the game later in life, so I think the OP's stats are irrelevant.
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#58 MadGolfer76

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:57 PM

Those in the golf industry would have you think the sky is falling. I'm all for letting it die a little. Contraction is healthy...
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#59 cardoustie

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:58 PM

Most kids have no attention span now

Sorry to report that

Social media, smart phones, laptops, 1000 channels, netflix etc etc.  Why leave the house?

When I was 17, 32 long freaking years ago you looked for things to do to stay busy / active / social.  

You didn't fake hang out with friends electronically

I think of the 450 members at my club - we are doing well and had 40 new members join over the winter - we have 3 juniors and 15 lady members.  Crazy
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#60 matthewb

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 01:00 PM

Here's a little light to offset some of the heat in this thread . . .

http://www.charlesto...nomics-of-golf/


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