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Thoughts on why people are walking away from the game...


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#841 third-times-a-charm

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:08 PM

View Postfairways4life, on 18 December 2018 - 04:33 PM, said:

28 pages long and I am late to this party so forgive me if it's been mentioned.

Too much time, money, too difficult, too many other things like computers and internet, less leisure time --- those are all true and I'm sure have been discussed at length here.

But I'll throw one more in the hat --- caddies (and the decline of them).

How many baby boomers got hooked on golf as a kid because they got a summer job caddying? They got introduced to the game and got to go out and play one day a week on the caddie day or hit free balls on the range. It was the perfect way to introduce young people to the game.

But the days of young kids hauling bags around are pretty much done (if not done entirely). Places with caddie programs today (think Pinehurst, Pebble, Kiawah, Streamsong, etc.) all have caddies who are 18+ in age. It's no longer a "kids" thing. It's become more of a thing that you can actually make a decent living at.

Are there any courses that still employ 10 year old kids as caddies? I am not aware of any (though it's possible they do exist). I'm aware of the Evans Scholarship, but not sure how young those kids get started in it.

This is just one of the many reasons that are contributing to it. And obviously the golf cart and modern course design are largely rooted in the demise of caddie programs.

My club has caddies...but you have to pay for them. And it aint cheap. So, pass on that.

Caddies go against why I play golf anyway, so I dont ever use them.

Edited by third-times-a-charm, 08 January 2019 - 03:08 PM.

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#842 statgrad

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 05:59 PM

Something the OP mentioned.  When was the last time you bought ______?   Well how often do you use _____ compared to your golf clubs?  We go through multiple soccer balls a year because we play multiple times a week.  I use my clubs about three to four times a week in season, once a week out of season.   Do you use your baseball glove, football, basketball, etc that frequently?  Probably not.  As many have said here, cost can be managed, whether it's buying used clubs or playing with a smaller bag.

Some make the game harder than it needs to be and get discouraged.  The one thing I always say to new golfers, including my own son:  You are better off being fit and having only 7 clubs in your bag than you are buying 14 clubs off the rack.  If your 160 yards out and don't have a 7-iron, so what?  If you flush either your 6-iron or 8-iron it's on the green - you are putting and happy.  Another benefit:  if it doesn't work out for you, you haven't lost that much.  Just another way to manage the entry cost.

The biggest issue, as many have already said, is time, but even that can be managed certain ways.  Play nine holes.  During the summer, I can play 9 before work and still be at the office by 8:30 and home by 6:00 to have the evening with my family.  Or make it a family function for 9 holes.  Our local muni allows kids to play free with a paying adult.  Bring the whole family.  Two hours together on the golf course is good family time.  

Overlooked in this discussion:  there's a lot more competition for our leisure time now - kids' leisure time, too.  And no matter you do, we still only have 24 hours in a day.
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#843 DLiver

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 06:12 PM

Hmmm...without reading the entire thread, I can answer this from my POV. The thing that attracts me to golf is that it is so challenging. I've tried to quit the games several times, but keep coming back because the game is hard and interesting. The one thing I hate is how long the freakin' game takes. It is no fun (to me) to stand around waiting for the players in front of me to play. I am very fortunate to be able to play private courses all the time, and it still takes me 4:15 to 4:30 to play a round. Add in a 40 minute warm up and the obligatory 45 minutes afterward to wait for my buddies' groups to finish, and you've blown most of the day. If I had to play public (or semi private golf) I would have quit years ago.

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#844 ChronicSlicer

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 07:58 PM

View Poststatgrad, on 08 January 2019 - 05:59 PM, said:

  During the summer, I can play 9 before work and still be at the office by 8:30 and home by 6:00 to have the evening with my family.

Not everybody works in the office, some folks start working at 6 or 7 a.m. til 5 or 6 p.m. Consider yourself lucky.

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#845 farmer

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 11:52 AM

A more pertinent question is : why aren't more people walking into the game?


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#846 Ferguson

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:02 PM

View Postfarmer, on 09 January 2019 - 11:52 AM, said:

A more pertinent question is : why aren't more people walking into the game?


The avant-garde approach.   I like it.




I think the game isn't "shocking" enough.  


Example:  what would get more hits?

A turtle being run over by a tractor tire, or a well struck 7 iron.

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#847 Dr. Block

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:10 PM

View PostFerguson, on 09 January 2019 - 12:02 PM, said:

View Postfarmer, on 09 January 2019 - 11:52 AM, said:

A more pertinent question is : why aren't more people walking into the game?


The avant-garde approach.   I like it.




I think the game isn't "shocking" enough.  


Example:  what would get more hits?

A turtle being run over by a tractor tire, or a well struck 7 iron.

I walked into the game once when I was in short pants.  Got hit in the forehead with someone's back swing.

Edited by Dr. Block, 09 January 2019 - 12:11 PM.


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#848 Ferguson

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:04 PM

View PostDr. Block, on 09 January 2019 - 12:10 PM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 09 January 2019 - 12:02 PM, said:

View Postfarmer, on 09 January 2019 - 11:52 AM, said:

A more pertinent question is : why aren't more people walking into the game?


The avant-garde approach.   I like it.




I think the game isn't "shocking" enough.  


Example:  what would get more hits?

A turtle being run over by a tractor tire, or a well struck 7 iron.

I walked into the game once when I was in short pants.  Got hit in the forehead with someone's back swing.


I once ordered a roasted poultry dish on the turn, only to be told it would take 35 minutes to prepare.  I waited 20 minutes and then gave up.  After proceeding to hole #10, I then got caught behind a very slow group.  Suffice to say the back nine was henless.

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#849 statgrad

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 09:25 AM

View PostChronicSlicer, on 08 January 2019 - 07:58 PM, said:

View Poststatgrad, on 08 January 2019 - 05:59 PM, said:

  During the summer, I can play 9 before work and still be at the office by 8:30 and home by 6:00 to have the evening with my family.

Not everybody works in the office, some folks start working at 6 or 7 a.m. til 5 or 6 p.m. Consider yourself lucky.

I am lucky.  And I make use of the time to play even if it's 9 holes.  Same thing on a Saturday morning - family wants to head out by 9:00, I'll play 9 and be home and showered on time to go.  Two keys to playing more golf: 1)  play 9 when you can.  2) make it a family function.
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#850 Sixcat

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 10:03 AM

View Poststatgrad, on 10 January 2019 - 09:25 AM, said:

View PostChronicSlicer, on 08 January 2019 - 07:58 PM, said:

View Poststatgrad, on 08 January 2019 - 05:59 PM, said:

  During the summer, I can play 9 before work and still be at the office by 8:30 and home by 6:00 to have the evening with my family.

Not everybody works in the office, some folks start working at 6 or 7 a.m. til 5 or 6 p.m. Consider yourself lucky.

I am lucky.  And I make use of the time to play even if it's 9 holes.  Same thing on a Saturday morning - family wants to head out by 9:00, I'll play 9 and be home and showered on time to go.  Two keys to playing more golf: 1)  play 9 when you can.  2) make it a family function.

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#851 Mikey5e

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:43 AM

If some are walking away from the game, good. This leaves more space for real golf enthusiasts to play, and probably at a faster pace. Those that don't have a genuine passion go out to socialize, play music, drink and get rowdy, talk too loud or much, etc. Good riddance, keep the exodus moving!

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#852 Dr. Block

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 12:30 PM

View PostFerguson, on 09 January 2019 - 02:04 PM, said:

View PostDr. Block, on 09 January 2019 - 12:10 PM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 09 January 2019 - 12:02 PM, said:

View Postfarmer, on 09 January 2019 - 11:52 AM, said:

A more pertinent question is : why aren't more people walking into the game?


The avant-garde approach.   I like it.




I think the game isn't "shocking" enough.  


Example:  what would get more hits?

A turtle being run over by a tractor tire, or a well struck 7 iron.

I walked into the game once when I was in short pants.  Got hit in the forehead with someone's back swing.


I once ordered a roasted poultry dish on the turn, only to be told it would take 35 minutes to prepare.  I waited 20 minutes and then gave up.  After proceeding to hole #10, I then got caught behind a very slow group.  Suffice to say the back nine was henless.

Your esoteric sense of humor may have finally eluded me Ferguson.

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#853 AceCatKY

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 01:29 PM

As Mikey5e stated above, if people choose to leave the game that is great for those of us who prioritize it. People prioritize certain things and devote their time/$ to them. If someone wants to prioritize golf, I highly doubt that equipping themselves and paying greens fees will be prohibitive with all the "hot deals" tee times and websites selling quality used equipment for cheap. I do understand that having the requisite free time can be an issue, more so if you only have access  public courses with long wait times.

I am 29, married and have a 2 year old son but still a able to play regularly because of membership at a private club. Can easily play 9 or go to range before going to the office, play 9s in the evenings while they enjoy the pool, and get in quick weekend rounds. Cost wise it is more expensive but the access is worth it to me because I prioritize golf as  hobby and allocate $ toward it. I do feel that other folks my age do not prioritize golf like I do and devote their time elsewhere, but I think its just a matter of personal preference.
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#854 daveltb

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 01:52 PM

View PostMikey5e, on 10 January 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

If some are walking away from the game, good. This leaves more space for real golf enthusiasts to play, and probably at a faster pace. Those that don't have a genuine passion go out to socialize, play music, drink and get rowdy, talk too loud or much, etc. Good riddance, keep the exodus moving!

Yep, keep saying that until all the courses around you start closing and conditions at the one's open go to pot. You'll really enjoy having to drive farther and pay more to keep playing the game that you love. It's happening so you better get used to it. :angry22:

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#855 marmooskapaul

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:14 PM

View Postdaveltb, on 10 January 2019 - 01:52 PM, said:

View PostMikey5e, on 10 January 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

If some are walking away from the game, good. This leaves more space for real golf enthusiasts to play, and probably at a faster pace. Those that don't have a genuine passion go out to socialize, play music, drink and get rowdy, talk too loud or much, etc. Good riddance, keep the exodus moving!

Yep, keep saying that until all the courses around you start closing and conditions at the one's open go to pot. You'll really enjoy having to drive farther and pay more to keep playing the game that you love. It's happening so you better get used to it. :angry22:

Oh now..now..it's not that bad in most places. A little overboard my friend. :scenic:


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#856 bobbyking88

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:54 PM

It's crazy what golf marketing came to. I myself always wanted the newest equipment each year until last year. I got professionally fit each club in the bag and made a promise to myself to use the set I have for 5 years. I see taylormade for instance using Apple's sales pitch for financing golf clubs and upgrading when the newest model comes out. Prices are ridiculous and I don't see the point each year it's the same sales pitch, more yards less spin better launch

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#857 platgof

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 09:24 PM

Here it is building up, as Hankook Tire just moved in and have a lot of golf nuts. In fact we need more golf courses. The weather has been horrible as it rains all the time, and who wants to play in the rain, not me. I hope this year it gives us a break.
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#858 geogolf

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:51 AM

Lots of responses...and I'm REALLY late to the party... But here's my opinion.  Of course it's several factors. Most of which fall on the powers that be- course owners & developers.

I have been a Golf Professional for close to 30 years.... Well over half my life.

In 1990... Our course wasn't anything special.  But very active.   Mostly male, 35 and up.  Regulars...regular members.....etc.

We rarely had an outing.  But had 12 leagues....5 days a week in the afternoon ranging from 20 players to 100.

This was not a country club- this was basically (looking back now) a Goat track... lol

But.... some key things.  This course didn't drain the best,  but when it rained, when we had leagues and carts couldn't go out - people WALKED.    Most people walked anyway. Most members walked.    If a foursome ever came in and got 2 carts, they were either physically unable to walk- or wealthy.      But even with the latter, if they COULD play, they would.

Today....No carts, you may as well lock your doors.  
It's how a generation has grown up. To them Golf=Carts.  Which also adds to the expense!   So, many have the figure in their head of what it coats to play by the cart fee.  

A course where I was a pro..... offered 50% discount on cart fees if you were an employee but worked less than 40 hrs a week.  One of the employees in that category, explained to me how he didn't see how a lot of guys could afford to play because of the cart price.  Rescue he was having a tough time just justifying even HIS cart price at 50% off.  I simply said to him "You realize, if you walked, you would pay nothing right?"....   It was like I told him how to make a million dollars.   Next day, he is out with a carry bag, and I never saw him ride again.

Overbuilding of courses.
Building courses that were cart only or you don't play.  

And one of the bigger ones....  Upscale Public courses that raised the expectations.   Everyone wishes to play a nicely manicured course.   But expectations of what I call "Americanized" courses really has changed in 30 years.

When was the last time you played a course without watered fairways?    It was pretty common 30 years ago.

And... you have at least one generation that is used to mastering a game online, or something simpler pretty quickly.  
They do not have the time or want to devote that time to a sport that takes physical ability and that can't be mastered !
And if they are parents......forget it.  If you are a parent now, you don't get to hear about the game at the dinner table. You MUST be there.   They just don't have time.

Bottom Line...

1)You have a sport that was seen as expensive in the first place - seen as MORE expensive by a generation who thinks it's not possible to play without a cart.

2) Unrealistic course expectations for some.  

3) Time factor - for multiple reasons.

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#859 daveltb

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:28 AM

View Postmarmooskapaul, on 10 January 2019 - 07:14 PM, said:

View Postdaveltb, on 10 January 2019 - 01:52 PM, said:

View PostMikey5e, on 10 January 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

If some are walking away from the game, good. This leaves more space for real golf enthusiasts to play, and probably at a faster pace. Those that don't have a genuine passion go out to socialize, play music, drink and get rowdy, talk too loud or much, etc. Good riddance, keep the exodus moving!

Yep, keep saying that until all the courses around you start closing and conditions at the one's open go to pot. You'll really enjoy having to drive farther and pay more to keep playing the game that you love. It's happening so you better get used to it. :angry22:

Oh now..now..it's not that bad in most places. A little overboard my friend. :scenic:

https://www.wsj.com/...ole-11547135191


More than 200 golf courses closed in 2017 across the country, while only about 15 new ones opened, according to the National Golf Foundation, a golf market-research provider.

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#860 AceCatKY

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:45 AM

It is fine that more courses closed than opened; its a market correction. I've lived in multiple states and never thought "you know what, if only there were X more number of courses it would be better".

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#861 Mikey5e

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:55 PM

View Postmarmooskapaul, on 10 January 2019 - 07:14 PM, said:

View Postdaveltb, on 10 January 2019 - 01:52 PM, said:

View PostMikey5e, on 10 January 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

If some are walking away from the game, good. This leaves more space for real golf enthusiasts to play, and probably at a faster pace. Those that don't have a genuine passion go out to socialize, play music, drink and get rowdy, talk too loud or much, etc. Good riddance, keep the exodus moving!

Yep, keep saying that until all the courses around you start closing and conditions at the one's open go to pot. You'll really enjoy having to drive farther and pay more to keep playing the game that you love. It's happening so you better get used to it. :angry22:

Oh now..now..it's not that bad in most places. A little overboard my friend. :scenic:
Really? All the golf courses will be shutting down? I don't think so. I do often wonder about courses getting the tempting offer of say $2 million to sell to builders. That might be tough to pass up. Although, I don't worry about it.

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#862 Rangeballz

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:20 PM

$500 drivers released every 4 months that claim to turn the $500 driver you bought 4 months ago into a worthless POS........

Newbies, HS and college kids watching tour pros and taking 5 hours+ to play a round, thinking it's normal.....

Rules that (until recently) issued the death penalty for going 3 MPH over the speed limit......

OEMs juicing iron lofts to make you think you've picked up some distance.

Some instruction that requires a thorough understanding of advanced calculus....


I'm late to the party as well, sorry if I'm repeating.

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#863 PMACGolf

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:55 PM

Too far behind makes people want to quit

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#864 Showtime9

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:02 PM

View PostRangeballz, on 11 January 2019 - 04:20 PM, said:

$500 drivers released every 4 months that claim to turn the $500 driver you bought 4 months ago into a worthless POS........

Love this comment!

It has come to the point where you might as well wait 6 months and pick up that TM M5 that you are eyeing right now, when they come out with the TM M6. The equivalent of buying a used car that has just come off its lease

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#865 geogolf

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 06:36 AM

It is a market correction.

You will soon have Higher end clubs and Privates, and lower end blah.

Just like what you have in the Club market- the Ball Market Etc.

Who's to blame ?  Anyone who cried for years that we need to 'Grow the Game'. Then went about building too many courses, depending on cart revenue and worried more about Course Logos, Mission Statements & Signatures Holes- above.......  PLAYING GOLF to enjoy.....rather than have it be a status.

I've played courses coast to coast....US Open Tracks to farm fields with flagsticks...    
Do yourself a favor. Find a not so perfect course..pay the cheap greens fee...and walk it....
You might be shocked how much you enjoy it.


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#866 krtgolfing

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 09:00 AM

For me it is the 5+ hour rounds. I try to play early as possible but typically those are for the members / member scrambles. I am a member at a course but it is not private. I will not be renewing once my year is up. I have played with these members before but I am not a fan. Lots of drinking at 730 in the morning and typically play for big money. I love to drink and play for money, however I do not typically drink that early and play for big money. So I have typically play behind these groups and the rounds are 5+ hours easily. All the other public courses in the area are typically 5+ hours. The only private course in the area that is affordable is nothing. The other private courses in the area are 70k initiation fees, with at least 1,200+ monthly dues. My wife and I make great money, but would never drop that type of money just to join a club. I still play a good bit since I do not have any kids, but if I do have a kid I could definitely see myself cutting down on the numebr of rounds.
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#867 marmooskapaul

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:59 AM

View Postkrtgolfing, on 14 January 2019 - 09:00 AM, said:

For me it is the 5+ hour rounds. I try to play early as possible but typically those are for the members / member scrambles. I am a member at a course but it is not private. I will not be renewing once my year is up. I have played with these members before but I am not a fan. Lots of drinking at 730 in the morning and typically play for big money. I love to drink and play for money, however I do not typically drink that early and play for big money. So I have typically play behind these groups and the rounds are 5+ hours easily. All the other public courses in the area are typically 5+ hours. The only private course in the area that is affordable is nothing. The other private courses in the area are 70k initiation fees, with at least 1,200+ monthly dues. My wife and I make great money, but would never drop that type of money just to join a club. I still play a good bit since I do not have any kids, but if I do have a kid I could definitely see myself cutting down on the numebr of rounds.

Good lord...you don't have any 50$ courses in Charleston?? Not picking on you..just seems really expensive.

edit: just to be clear 50$ is expensive around me...lol.

Edited by marmooskapaul, 14 January 2019 - 12:00 PM.


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#868 MelloYello

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 02:01 PM

The magic is that anyone plays golf at all, really, especially with younger people. Bachelor's often have more pressing concerns. I don't blame them. Young fathers don't have time. Can't blame them. Middle-aged guys are tied up with work, kids, household chores and other stuff. Nothing you can do about that.

The real question is why more women don't play and why more courses don't go out of their way to encourage the business. The reality of that issue is all the more uncomfortable in an age where people are increasingly aware of health and fitness.

Realistically, golf should be a win for women. They're naturally more flexible. That's a big plus in golf. Many women enjoy hiking and could probably get on with the outdoors-y nature of the game (many might even prefer to walk).

If I ran a course, I'd consider just allowing women to play for free to encourage the business and to try and break up the stuffy, single-sex nature of the clubhouse. If anything, I think many in society have just moved on from that. Most guys don't want to work or hang out with just other men. It feels increasingly weird. I would much rather enjoy the company of a mixed crowd.
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#869 jpking17

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 03:09 PM

Because you become a pretentious ***** after you spend years of your life trying to perfect such a horrible game that we all apparently love...there are generally no awards for anyone on this message board at the end of a round so we are all just a bunch of guys chasing a ball around a field.  With that being said...can't wait to play this weekend.

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#870 Tim Schoch

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 07:16 PM

I stick with golf because the game is like living a luxurious fantasy, where you gleefully play an expansive lawn game while the rest of the world hurries by. If it wasn't for the club hurling and vein-busting primal expletives, it would be almost idyllic. Then again, there is the beer and peeing in the woods.

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