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Why is there a decline in boys high school golf participation?

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#1 Roadking2003

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 10:16 AM

I just discovered this stat and it's a little disturbing.

HS girls participation is increasing at a good pace, but boys are declining. Why is this?

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#2 CTgolf

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 10:21 AM

Tiger effect wearing off?

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#3 Soloman1

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 10:23 AM

Youth participation in all sports has declined in the last decade. It's not just a golf thing.

All the reasons people can come up probably apply to some degree.

The only relationship I see is that the decline mirrors the rise in childhood obesity. unfortunately, many people don't like to hear that.
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#4 Baitkiller

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 10:49 AM

Because junior golf has turned into a single sport rich kid only athlete area. Look at the competitive schools, ask Hitter, he will be along shortly. To compete and thrive the (most) kids have to focus only on golf and that doesn't happen in the public sector anymore. My 8th grader for example, He plays (starts) football, basketball and golf for the school, so does his buddy the quarterback. They were A&B players respectively a distant B. Ask Hitter how unusual that is these days. Never happens anymore but was normal when we were kids. The good athletes played every sport in every season.  My kids golf team sucked and came in DFL. Does pretty well in all other sports. The schools they played were all private academies and all of those players were golf only athletes his school is a charter. Never saw any of those kids at any other venue in three years. The average jock is never going to sign up for that. I would be surprised if my boy plays high school golf either. The world goes too fast now to allocate that kind of time for a sport you get clowned for playing.
On that note, Ian would never wear his team shirt to school on match days because of ridicule but would always wear his B ball and football jerseys on game day. I guess he knows what hes doing judged by the cheerleader girlfriend. :swoon:
Aside from the QB who only plays in golf season and isn't very good we know of exactly zero boys or girls locally who would be up for hitting balls, walking 9 after school, playing urban golf, anything. I have taken out adds and posted at golf courses and talked to every pro in town to find him a golf buddy...crickets. Short of enrolling in private school there is zero chance of establishing junior golf stoke. With all the golf courses and money in Naples we find it odd that its a desert wasteland for junior golf. Shame.
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#5 leezer99

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 11:18 AM

View PostSoloman1, on 23 February 2018 - 10:23 AM, said:

Youth participation in all sports has declined in the last decade. It's not just a golf thing.

All the reasons people can come up probably apply to some degree.

The only relationship I see is that the decline mirrors the rise in childhood obesity. unfortunately, many people don't like to hear that.

NFHS.org just came out saying that high school sports participation increased for the 28th consecutive season.


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#6 heavy_hitter

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 12:31 PM

I think part the decline is due to Lacrosse in Florida and Texas.  Can't speak for California.  A lot of kids have gravitated there.  

We have two public high schools, two Charter High Schools, and two private schools in our county.  Neither of the charters, and one of the private schools don't offer golf.  If you want to play golf and are good you go to the public school my kid will play golf for.  They finish in the top 5 of the state every year.  Golf actually thrives in our community.  The other public school and the Private School (rich beach side) aren't good at golf at all.  The other public school struggles to even field a team.

Kids don't know who Tiger is nor do they care.  Told my kid we were going to the Honda and needed to follow Tiger around just so he could say he watched him play.  He honestly wasn't that thrilled.  He said "I hope he doesn't make the cut then.  If he does, I hope he at least is playing with someone that is good.".

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#7 wildcatden

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 12:56 PM

Does anyone have any statistical data showing the comparison between HS golf participation vs "All of the various local tours" participation.  Probably a difficult set of stats to find. As stated before in other threads (particularly by HH), HS golf is not absolutely required for a kid to get a scholarship (or even play) at college.  So are there less kids golfing? Or just less kids playing HS golf?

Many other factors also with schools these days primarily revolve around budgets. In addition for potential golf parents, golf certainly has a perception of being an expensive sport from green fees to memberships to equipment and time.

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#8 Baitkiller

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 12:58 PM

Does your boy, or do any of his team mates play other school sports? Just curious if thats regional as well. Crazy how regional the interest is. We have just as much golf here as you do. But its kinda, private old man golf.
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#9 CTgolf

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 02:01 PM

View PostCTgolf, on 23 February 2018 - 10:21 AM, said:

Tiger effect wearing off?

The number of junior golfers exploded right after Tiger turned pro, peaking around 2004-2005 (7-8 yrs after he turned pro, right around the age many juniors start playing).

It's also a relatively (compared to alternatives) expensive sport to compete in at the youth level, so the financial crisis, which also occurred around the beginning of Tiger's epic fall, precipitated decreased participation.

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#10 darter79

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 02:29 PM

View PostCTgolf, on 23 February 2018 - 02:01 PM, said:

View PostCTgolf, on 23 February 2018 - 10:21 AM, said:

Tiger effect wearing off?

The number of junior golfers exploded right after Tiger turned pro, peaking around 2004-2005 (7-8 yrs after he turned pro, right around the age many juniors start playing).

It's also a relatively (compared to alternatives) expensive sport to compete in at the youth level, so the financial crisis, which also occurred around the beginning of Tiger's epic fall, precipitated decreased participation.

I would think cost more than anything. For example softball my daughter plays cost $75 that starts in Jan ends in May, maybe June if they do all starts as she did last spring. Very little cost to get started.  Golf another ball game of cost, would cost close to $450 here in Austin for just tournament fees for one full season.  We all know how expensive it is. I think the best thing they could do for junior golf is make it more affordable for what it is. No reason a 9 hole event should cost $50 for 18 but it does. Some courses even charge you for range balls to practice before you play. Equipment very expensive to get started.  Softball was free to practice golf need a membership.  I don't even want to know what I've spent on golf since she started playing last summer. The cost is the main reason numbers would be down if you ask me.


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#11 leezer99

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 03:26 PM

View Postdarter79, on 23 February 2018 - 02:29 PM, said:

View PostCTgolf, on 23 February 2018 - 02:01 PM, said:

View PostCTgolf, on 23 February 2018 - 10:21 AM, said:

Tiger effect wearing off?

The number of junior golfers exploded right after Tiger turned pro, peaking around 2004-2005 (7-8 yrs after he turned pro, right around the age many juniors start playing).

It's also a relatively (compared to alternatives) expensive sport to compete in at the youth level, so the financial crisis, which also occurred around the beginning of Tiger's epic fall, precipitated decreased participation.

I would think cost more than anything. For example softball my daughter plays cost $75 that starts in Jan ends in May, maybe June if they do all starts as she did last spring. Very little cost to get started.  Golf another ball game of cost, would cost close to $450 here in Austin for just tournament fees for one full season.  We all know how expensive it is. I think the best thing they could do for junior golf is make it more affordable for what it is. No reason a 9 hole event should cost $50 for 18 but it does. Some courses even charge you for range balls to practice before you play. Equipment very expensive to get started.  Softball was free to practice golf need a membership.  I don't even want to know what I've spent on golf since she started playing last summer. The cost is the main reason numbers would be down if you ask me.

This is a per tournament cost on our local tour at a city course after you've paid your $100 yearly membership...
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#12 TimberBeast

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 05:04 PM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 23 February 2018 - 12:31 PM, said:

Kids don't know who Tiger is nor do they care.  Told my kid we were going to the Honda and needed to follow Tiger around just so he could say he watched him play.  He honestly wasn't that thrilled.  He said "I hope he doesn't make the cut then.  If he does, I hope he at least is playing with someone that is good.".

Do you think you could get him to write a letter to the Golf Channel?  It's been pretty damn unbearable lately.

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#13 heavy_hitter

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 05:12 PM

View PostBaitkiller, on 23 February 2018 - 12:58 PM, said:

Does your boy, or do any of his team mates play other school sports? Just curious if thats regional as well. Crazy how regional the interest is. We have just as much golf here as you do. But its kinda, private old man golf.

Where my son will go to high school every kid just golfs.  My son plays basketball and golf.  I know when he gets to high school he won't play hoops.  To slow and too short.  Can shoot the rock though.  We have 4 private course in our county and 10 private.  We have old man golf, but their has been a tradition at our school for a long time for whatever reason.  The best public course here has 2 courses and is very junior friendly.

Naples is definitely private old man golf.  Just had that discussion last night with a buddy from Philly.  He was asking me about a good place for a men's only golf trip.  I suggested Naples and he told me he had been there and done that.  Nothing to do at night.

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#14 heavy_hitter

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 05:14 PM

View PostTimberBeast, on 23 February 2018 - 05:04 PM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 23 February 2018 - 12:31 PM, said:

Kids don't know who Tiger is nor do they care.  Told my kid we were going to the Honda and needed to follow Tiger around just so he could say he watched him play.  He honestly wasn't that thrilled.  He said "I hope he doesn't make the cut then.  If he does, I hope he at least is playing with someone that is good.".

Do you think you could get him to write a letter to the Golf Channel?  It's been pretty damn unbearable lately.

LOL....  I know.  Was watching yesterday morning and they actually had a "TIGER SCORE ALERT".  I shook my head in disbelief and chuckled.

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#15 dlygrisse

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 05:38 PM

It's probably increasing if you count video games.  


I know of more and more high school aged boys that are playing sports like lacrosse though.  Trends change, no one I knew growing up played golf, but once I got to college a lot of guys I knew picked it up.

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#16 Soloman1

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 07:04 PM

2008 to 2013

Basketball down 3.9%
Soccer down 10.75%
Baseball down 14.4%
Football down 28.6%
Softball down 31.3%
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#17 jollysammy

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 09:59 PM

Golf is one of the most expensive sports, both equipment wise and cost to practice/play.   Economy before Trump had been down.  Many teenagers spend more time on their phones and video games than they do on sports.   video games and social media are instant gratification, golf and other sports take work to become proficient.  Socially, we've been so PC about not "hurting feelings" in sports where we either  frown on competition when they are young by giving everyone trophies or we've given kids so many distractions in life.  I grew up with 3 major TV channels, now there are hundreds.  We played sports with all the kids in the neighborhood and multiple sports.  Now sports have become specialized in pursuit of "the money".   No one wants to work at anything, so we microwave food, or buy fast food, heck even pancakes are just add water.  Never mind waffles being toasted.

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#18 Roadking2003

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 10:01 AM

View Postjollysammy, on 23 February 2018 - 09:59 PM, said:

Golf is one of the most expensive sports, both equipment wise and cost to practice/play.   Economy before Trump had been down.  Many teenagers spend more time on their phones and video games than they do on sports.   video games and social media are instant gratification, golf and other sports take work to become proficient.  Socially, we've been so PC about not "hurting feelings" in sports where we either  frown on competition when they are young by giving everyone trophies or we've given kids so many distractions in life.  I grew up with 3 major TV channels, now there are hundreds.  We played sports with all the kids in the neighborhood and multiple sports.  Now sports have become specialized in pursuit of "the money".   No one wants to work at anything, so we microwave food, or buy fast food, heck even pancakes are just add water.  Never mind waffles being toasted.

My how times have changed.  When I played on my high school golf team we were dirt poor.  I never paid a tournament entry fee.  I never paid for range balls because I had my own shag bag and would pick them up after hitting.  The local muni course had special cheap green fees for school kids.  I never bought a new golf ball, just played with whatever I found.

I suppose kids shagging their own practice balls is inconsistent with today's values.

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#19 jollysammy

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 11:56 AM

My son's high school golf team has to pay $10 for each practice round, no fee for matches.  He has a youth on course card, but they won't except that for school practice rounds.  Which is unfortunate since the YOC card would mean a $5 greens fee instead of the 10.

They get free range balls.  Problem is, the range is usually full when they get there.

Last summer I talked to a dad whose son has played with mine in the last 6 years.  He told me he has a younger son just starting now but that the sport is in such

a decline that when our sons were playing as 10 year olds you would have up to 50-60 per tournament and now his son may be lucky to have 10-15 or less.  I think overall the trend is down.  Here in California the reality of declining play, drought and other factors has meant many course closings.

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#20 BIG STU

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 04:39 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 23 February 2018 - 09:59 PM, said:

Golf is one of the most expensive sports, both equipment wise and cost to practice/play.   Economy before Trump had been down.  Many teenagers spend more time on their phones and video games than they do on sports.   video games and social media are instant gratification, golf and other sports take work to become proficient.  Socially, we've been so PC about not "hurting feelings" in sports where we either  frown on competition when they are young by giving everyone trophies or we've given kids so many distractions in life.  I grew up with 3 major TV channels, now there are hundreds.  We played sports with all the kids in the neighborhood and multiple sports.  Now sports have become specialized in pursuit of "the money".   No one wants to work at anything, so we microwave food, or buy fast food, heck even pancakes are just add water.  Never mind waffles being toasted.
My sentiments exactly ---- But I may not be qualified to comment since I do not have any kids living and no grandchildren

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#21 BIG STU

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 04:43 PM

View PostRoadking2003, on 24 February 2018 - 10:01 AM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 23 February 2018 - 09:59 PM, said:

Golf is one of the most expensive sports, both equipment wise and cost to practice/play.   Economy before Trump had been down.  Many teenagers spend more time on their phones and video games than they do on sports.   video games and social media are instant gratification, golf and other sports take work to become proficient.  Socially, we've been so PC about not "hurting feelings" in sports where we either  frown on competition when they are young by giving everyone trophies or we've given kids so many distractions in life.  I grew up with 3 major TV channels, now there are hundreds.  We played sports with all the kids in the neighborhood and multiple sports.  Now sports have become specialized in pursuit of "the money".   No one wants to work at anything, so we microwave food, or buy fast food, heck even pancakes are just add water.  Never mind waffles being toasted.

My how times have changed.  When I played on my high school golf team we were dirt poor.  I never paid a tournament entry fee.  I never paid for range balls because I had my own shag bag and would pick them up after hitting.  The local muni course had special cheap green fees for school kids.  I never bought a new golf ball, just played with whatever I found.

I suppose kids shagging their own practice balls is inconsistent with today's values.
Times may have changes since I am 60 years old-- Back when I played golf in school none of the courses charged us to play school matches and usually 1 practice round was free. My old man ran a daily fee course and never charged kids on any golf team to play how ever many practice rounds they wanted
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#22 leezer99

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 05:00 PM

View PostBIG STU, on 24 February 2018 - 04:43 PM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 24 February 2018 - 10:01 AM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 23 February 2018 - 09:59 PM, said:

Golf is one of the most expensive sports, both equipment wise and cost to practice/play.   Economy before Trump had been down.  Many teenagers spend more time on their phones and video games than they do on sports.   video games and social media are instant gratification, golf and other sports take work to become proficient.  Socially, we've been so PC about not "hurting feelings" in sports where we either  frown on competition when they are young by giving everyone trophies or we've given kids so many distractions in life.  I grew up with 3 major TV channels, now there are hundreds.  We played sports with all the kids in the neighborhood and multiple sports.  Now sports have become specialized in pursuit of "the money".   No one wants to work at anything, so we microwave food, or buy fast food, heck even pancakes are just add water.  Never mind waffles being toasted.

My how times have changed.  When I played on my high school golf team we were dirt poor.  I never paid a tournament entry fee.  I never paid for range balls because I had my own shag bag and would pick them up after hitting.  The local muni course had special cheap green fees for school kids.  I never bought a new golf ball, just played with whatever I found.

I suppose kids shagging their own practice balls is inconsistent with today's values.
Times may have changes since I am 60 years old-- Back when I played golf in school none of the courses charged us to play school matches and usually 1 practice round was free. My old man ran a daily fee course and never charged kids on any golf team to play how ever many practice rounds they wanted

Kids at our course play for free after school.

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#23 dlc1914

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 05:49 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 23 February 2018 - 09:59 PM, said:

Golf is one of the most expensive sports, both equipment wise and cost to practice/play.   Economy before Trump had been down.  Many teenagers spend more time on their phones and video games than they do on sports.   video games and social media are instant gratification, golf and other sports take work to become proficient.  Socially, we've been so PC about not "hurting feelings" in sports where we either  frown on competition when they are young by giving everyone trophies or we've given kids so many distractions in life.  I grew up with 3 major TV channels, now there are hundreds.  We played sports with all the kids in the neighborhood and multiple sports.  Now sports have become specialized in pursuit of "the money".   No one wants to work at anything, so we microwave food, or buy fast food, heck even pancakes are just add water.  Never mind waffles being toasted.

annualized GDP growth since 2008....... Sep 30, 2017 4.12% Dec 31, 2016 3.38% Dec 31, 2015 3.11% Dec 31, 2014 4.33% Dec 31, 2013 4.31% Dec 31, 2012 3.24% Dec 31, 2011 3.64% Dec 31, 2010 4.56% Dec 31, 2009 0.11% Dec 31, 2008 -0.92% Dec 31, 2007 4.40%

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#24 heavy_hitter

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 09:54 AM

High School kids here don't pay a dime during High School season.  Greens Fees and Range balls are free.

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#25 Sling

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 02:03 PM

Given how disparaged High School golf is on here I'm not surprised ! But of course that's only true for the 1% who are going on to college golf. But different sports have their day in the sun, I wonder what the stats are for tennis. the 70s and 80s might have been the high point for US tennis, being a similar demographic how do their numbers stack up against golf?


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#26 Noles

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 09:05 AM

View PostTimberBeast, on 23 February 2018 - 05:04 PM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 23 February 2018 - 12:31 PM, said:

Kids don't know who Tiger is nor do they care.  Told my kid we were going to the Honda and needed to follow Tiger around just so he could say he watched him play.  He honestly wasn't that thrilled.  He said "I hope he doesn't make the cut then.  If he does, I hope he at least is playing with someone that is good.".

Do you think you could get him to write a letter to the Golf Channel?  It's been pretty damn unbearable lately.
Tiger's comeback is the most compelling story in golf right now.  Like it or not he brings eyes to the screen.  You think GC would waste air time otherwise?

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#27 Noles

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 10:57 AM

The Honda Classic's ratings were up 38% from last year...must be because of the all-new, redesigned 2018 Accord.

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#28 DavePelz4

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:00 AM

Wondering if there is a breakdown by geography.  There are 3 high schools in our town and they have between 150-175 guys try out for a team of 10, each.  If you're not shooting 75 or less, you sadly don't have a chance to make it.

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#29 leezer99

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 12:04 PM

View PostDavePelz4, on 27 February 2018 - 11:00 AM, said:

Wondering if there is a breakdown by geography.  There are 3 high schools in our town and they have between 150-175 guys try out for a team of 10, each.  If you're not shooting 75 or less, you sadly don't have a chance to make it.

What area are you talking about?

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#30 DavePelz4

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 01:04 PM

View Postleezer99, on 27 February 2018 - 12:04 PM, said:

View PostDavePelz4, on 27 February 2018 - 11:00 AM, said:

Wondering if there is a breakdown by geography.  There are 3 high schools in our town and they have between 150-175 guys try out for a team of 10, each.  If you're not shooting 75 or less, you sadly don't have a chance to make it.

What area are you talking about?

On a comparative basis, it seems states like TX and FL have the most interest with high school football...not sure if those seasons conflict with the HS golf season.


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