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commentator statement "how do you grow golf"


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#1 Hozzle

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:49 AM

I love hearing golf commentators groan about how to grow they game. Really? Its really expensive. Yeah you can buy a cheap set of clubs and play a cheap muni but if you want to learn how to play the game. Lessons will eat you alive.  I'm a pretty good player and I wanted to get several lessons to fix a swing flaw. Going rate here is $75 to $85 for 1hr lesson. Before I complain too much I understand a pga teaching carrer is a hard life but how many people have $300 of disposable income to use on lessons? Heck they even want $50 to do the online assement. Hence why there r so many hacks taking 6 hrs to play a round of golf


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#2 rvgolfer

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

Dont forget that since 2008 we have been in a very poor economic environment, and golf isnt exactly a neccessity.  If your house is being foreclosed, if you have lost your job, if you have seen your friends losing theirs,,and even if you still have yours, it makes a family more cautious spending money other than necessities.  So combine a poor economic situation, with rising costs, with small or no actual wage increases, its not hard to figure out why golf is struggling, courses closing and or reducing expenses.

My guess is that our economic situation isnt likely to improve much over the next 3-4 years, so its also likely you wont be seeing as many golfers out on the course as in the past.  I know that in my area, every golf course except the muni's are having revenue issues.  It seems that golfers are choosing cheaper courses over expensive ones.

And honestly, I play a very busy muni, and even though some days the pace is slow, it never, ever takes 6 hours to play, and rarely does it even go past 4.5 hours unless it's an important tournament.

Golf wont grow much and likely will continue to retract mimicing the economy in general.  Once you see GDP above 4%, or the unemployment numbers falling below 6%, and real family income growing again, golf will begin to grow.  Those of us who are older, have seen it all before,,and understand that our economy isnt always a "bowl of cherries".

Edited by rvgolfer, 18 November 2012 - 10:23 AM.


#3 Hozzle

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

I know there's a very good muni where I live. Hosted the 2011 pub links. I remember playing there in 2005 and the parking lot was salmmed. Not even on a holiday weekend its maybe 2/3 full. All the local teaching spots are salmmed with juniors but they don't seem to try to attract adults

#4 hoganfan924

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:02 PM

The more fundamental question is why do so many people involved in the business keep repeating this platitude about the need to "grow the game?". Why should anyone who isnt selling something be concerned about growing the game?

#5 MadGolfer76

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:09 PM

"Growth" doesn't always equal "health."

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#6 Snufles

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

Golfed with three ex-Country Club Members on Saturday. They would rather take that money and go south and play courses over the winter.
So to save money they play on a Muni-package during the summers.

#7 Crab Daddy

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

View Posthoganfan924, on 18 November 2012 - 04:02 PM, said:

The more fundamental question is why do so many people involved in the business keep repeating this platitude about the need to "grow the game?". Why should anyone who isnt selling something be concerned about growing the game?

Everybody is selling something.

#8 Soloman

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:30 PM

"Growing the game" = more slow, posing, 125 shooting bubbas in front of you on Saturday morning.

No thanks.

#9 freddyottawa

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:28 PM

View PostSoloman, on 18 November 2012 - 09:30 PM, said:

"Growing the game" = more slow, posing, 125 shooting bubbas in front of you on Saturday morning.

No thanks.

Absolute nonsense.
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#10 mwkbmw

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:10 PM

View Postfreddyottawa, on 18 November 2012 - 10:28 PM, said:

View PostSoloman, on 18 November 2012 - 09:30 PM, said:

"Growing the game" = more slow, posing, 125 shooting bubbas in front of you on Saturday morning.

No thanks.

Absolute nonsense.

This.  +1

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#11 Willie Malay

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

Never paid more than $30 for a lesson. Only had a few. I can figure out what I'm doing wrong or a friend I trust can. A round of golf here is $20-35. A set of clubs can last me 10 years. I dont call that expensive. Maybe you just live in the wrong place or THINK you have to pay a lot to 'be someone'.

#12 HackerVance

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

I agree I don't think that it's cost.  I also know that making the hole a foot across,  teeing off from inside a 100 yards, or having 6 hole courses isn't going to grow the sport.  It's a hard but fun game and it is what it is.

#13 jmck

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

I believe there are about 30m golfers in the US.  Supposedly, China's going to have 60m new golfers in the next 10 years.  That's a lot of stuff that's going to be sold over there.  Not sure what it all means for golf in the US though.

#14 displayname

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:22 AM

View PostWillie Malay, on 20 November 2012 - 04:59 PM, said:

Never paid more than $30 for a lesson. Only had a few. I can figure out what I'm doing wrong or a friend I trust can. A round of golf here is $20-35. A set of clubs can last me 10 years. I dont call that expensive. Maybe you just live in the wrong place or THINK you have to pay a lot to 'be someone'.

I think the cost is a HUGE barrier to golf.  You may not consider it to be that much, but it all adds up quickly, especially compared to other sports. If you play once a weekend, that is still $80-140 a month, assuming you have clubs and don't buy balls often/ever.  For most people, that is a very manageable expense for something they enjoy. But not everyone enjoys golf right off the bat. Not to mention you need clubs just to start.  Lets assume on the super cheap, you  will still need to sink in $200 minimum to get a full set of used clubs, or a big box store set.

Now lets look at the barrier of entry for other sports.

Basketball - public courts at almost every park, and most apartment complexes have a hoop as well. Not to mention that every school has hoops. All you need is one ball for a group of people.  Total investment on the cheap <$15.  Even the highest end balls are $100.  That won't even get you any single high end golf club.

Soccer - Sets up anywhere with a field, same costs as basketball.  Technically a little more if you are getting cleats, shin guards, etc. Still, the whole set up on the luxury end cost less then 1-3 golf clubs that are brand new. And again, much more available and accessible.

Baseball - a little less available, but most parks and schools have a back stop or diamond.  You can also practice with just two people.  Initial investment is more then the previous two sports because you need a glove, ball, and bat.  However the initial cost is still WELL below golf, and areas to play for free are significantly more available.

Football - America's most promoted sport.  Now this sport does technically rival golf on the barrier of entry... for tackle football. That is due to pads and helmets.  But we all started tossing the pig skin, and playing touch/flag football.  Plus the fact that Americana worships football drives kids to it. So most people are hooked well before they are spending more then the price of a ball. And even if most people only play tackle/pads in little leagues - high school, many play touch/flag well into their older years. Moral of the story here again is the sport is SUPER cheap.

Another note on the team sports... sharing equipment to keep it cheap.  You only need ONE basketball, football, or soccer ball to host a game for 10+ people.  If everyone involved pitched in $2, you can buy a ball for the day.  I haven't even mentioned that non of these games average 3-5 hours.

Tennis - This is the closest comparison based on the fact that it's a country club sport. However, you can get a racket and a tube of balls for less then $20, and tennis courts are again MUCH more available then golf courses, and free to use if you have the equipment.  


Now when I look at all those factors, golf seems pretty expensive.  If you are a parent, or just looking to try something new, golf is a hard sell in comparison to pretty much every other sport.  I think if we want to grow the game, we have to lower the barrier of entry.  If every park had a 9 hole course attached to it, people would have golf in their face more, and would be curious, and willing to try.  Not every course needs to be a full size golf course, just like not every sports filed needs to be the exact size, or best materials.  

Just imagine a 9 hole pitch at putt at every park.  Max hole length of 100-150 yards.  This would allow children to rent a set consisting of a wood, mid-iron, wedge and putter.  Adults could rent a wedge or two and a putter.  Cost could be less then $10 a person WITH rental equipment.  Around $5 a person if you have your own.  These courses would just get people out and trying the game.  Get the spark started.  Then people might seek out the driving range, and be more willing to try out a muni.  Personally, I love the game, and I'd love to see it grow.  Half of my friends refuse to try golf because of the cost and the intimidation of a full size course.  But par 3, 9 holes have gotten a few people in the door.  I think pitch and put courses would allow allot more children and woman especially to enter the sport.  Not only is this great for the sport, but it's good for the economy, and with the values golf teaches, it might even be great for our country's future.

#15 jmck

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:13 AM

View Postdisplayname, on 21 November 2012 - 01:22 AM, said:


/snip

Just imagine a 9 hole pitch at putt at every park.  Max hole length of 100-150 yards.  This would allow children to rent a set consisting of a wood, mid-iron, wedge and putter.  Adults could rent a wedge or two and a putter.  Cost could be less then $10 a person WITH rental equipment.  Around $5 a person if you have your own.  These courses would just get people out and trying the game.  Get the spark started.  Then people might seek out the driving range, and be more willing to try out a muni.  Personally, I love the game, and I'd love to see it grow.  Half of my friends refuse to try golf because of the cost and the intimidation of a full size course.  But par 3, 9 holes have gotten a few people in the door.  I think pitch and put courses would allow allot more children and woman especially to enter the sport.  Not only is this great for the sport, but it's good for the economy, and with the values golf teaches, it might even be great for our country's future.

That's how it's done in the old school golf countries throughout western Europe.  Every town of any size (and a lot of very small villages as well) has a little pitch and put.  In the evenings you'll see a surprising number of people walking down the streets with a few clubs in hand, heading for a few quick holes at the pitch and put.  It is indeed a great great way to "grow the game," but it's something that's nearly nonexistent in the States.  That's one thing that worries me about all those new golfers in China.  Near as I can tell, all that growth is aimed at the resort/7500-yard/high-roller crowd, and I'm not sure that's healthy for the game long term.


#16 Hozzle

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

I grew up playing a 18 hole par 3 course. They rented clubs. The front 9 was all less than 140 holes and the back had 150 to 250 holes. It was a great place to learn golf.

#17 displayname

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

View PostHozzle, on 21 November 2012 - 11:41 AM, said:

I grew up playing a 18 hole par 3 course. They rented clubs. The front 9 was all less than 140 holes and the back had 150 to 250 holes. It was a great place to learn golf.

And now you have no issues putting out over $100 a month to golf.  However, most people don't know about, or have access to "starter" courses like that. They only see tee times at $30-100 each, plus the cost of a set of clubs, plus the cost of a whole days time, plus the fact that they aren't very good at it (yet), plus that daunting 500yrd+ par 5 that they have no hope of hitting in 3. So they turn around and pick up a baseball/basketball/soccer ball/tennis racket and head to the nearest park.  Availability of a low cost, less time consuming, lower barrier of entry to golf is truly what is killing the game.  

The economy is also a contributing factor, no doubt.  But I think the economy is much more of a factor on the higher end "luxury" world of golf. Yes, private clubs and equipment companies struggle during economic struggles, but that is only growing one end of the game... the already developed/interested end.  If you truly want to grow the game, you need to make it easier and more fun to START in the game.

Edited by displayname, 21 November 2012 - 12:15 PM.


#18 larrybud

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:55 PM

Very easy to "grow the game".  Just wait for the next Tiger Woods...

Interesting article on Golf Participation and the number of players.

http://cgmaterials.c.../GolfPartic.pdf

The chart for number of golfers follows the popularity of the superstar of the day.

#19 33 Handicap

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:56 AM

Excellent topic.I grew up playing the inexpensive team sports.Golf was NOT on the radar.
Tiger made golf cool for me and my friends.IMO golf growth is hindered by its cost.

#20 mshills

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:27 AM

View PostSoloman, on 18 November 2012 - 09:30 PM, said:

"Growing the game" = more slow, posing, 125 shooting bubbas in front of you on Saturday morning.

No thanks.

Uh, no.  "More kids picking up the game and playing golf instead of video games."  I'll take it.

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#21 bullie76

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:41 AM

View Postjmck, on 20 November 2012 - 07:08 PM, said:

I believe there are about 30m golfers in the US.  Supposedly, China's going to have 60m new golfers in the next 10 years.  That's a lot of stuff that's going to be sold over there.  Not sure what it all means for golf in the US though.

It means the Chinese will be dominating golf 20 years from now and beating our butts.
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#22 cuddytime

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:54 PM

View PostMadGolfer76, on 18 November 2012 - 04:09 PM, said:

"Growth" doesn't always equal "health."
this is so true.

golf is a very inaccessible sport especially for those of us who work long hours... our only option are night-time driving ranges for practice, but many of them shut down due to the economy..

#23 ATXgolfer

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:13 PM

I get to play 2-3 times a week because I have access to a 9-hole course (with 3 par 4's) and it costs me $350 a year. If I did not have access to this facility, i know that my golfing would have been restricted to only a couple of rounds a month. This facility has short game practice facilities (sand, pitching), grass range, 3-hole par 3 course and putting greens. And the condition of the course and layout would rival any of the daily fee courses that charge $75 a round.

We need more of these in every city... does not have to be in top notch shape.. but cheap access to play golf. I don;t think you can become a better golfer without playing frequently, and it helps having access to such facilities so promote the game and have it picked up by more junior golfers.

Edited by ATXgolfer , 04 December 2012 - 01:14 PM.


#24 displayname

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:54 PM

View PostATXgolfer, on 04 December 2012 - 01:13 PM, said:

I get to play 2-3 times a week because I have access to a 9-hole course (with 3 par 4's) and it costs me $350 a year. If I did not have access to this facility, i know that my golfing would have been restricted to only a couple of rounds a month. This facility has short game practice facilities (sand, pitching), grass range, 3-hole par 3 course and putting greens. And the condition of the course and layout would rival any of the daily fee courses that charge $75 a round.

We need more of these in every city... does not have to be in top notch shape.. but cheap access to play golf. I don;t think you can become a better golfer without playing frequently, and it helps having access to such facilities so promote the game and have it picked up by more junior golfers.

I could not agree more. This is 100% the type of facility and program I a think we just need more of.  You pay less a month then some people do for a discounted round at a "goat track" course. Frequent players and those new to the game can get out on the course or range for just a few dollars.  And with those par 3 holes, it makes it easier to gradually work to the big holes, then to a full 18 hole round.  And for people that never get that far, it is still much easier to enjoy the game.

#25 cuddytime

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:56 PM

View PostATXgolfer, on 04 December 2012 - 01:13 PM, said:

I get to play 2-3 times a week because I have access to a 9-hole course (with 3 par 4's) and it costs me $350 a year. If I did not have access to this facility, i know that my golfing would have been restricted to only a couple of rounds a month. This facility has short game practice facilities (sand, pitching), grass range, 3-hole par 3 course and putting greens. And the condition of the course and layout would rival any of the daily fee courses that charge $75 a round.

We need more of these in every city... does not have to be in top notch shape.. but cheap access to play golf. I don;t think you can become a better golfer without playing frequently, and it helps having access to such facilities so promote the game and have it picked up by more junior golfers.
is it harvey penick?


#26 ATXgolfer

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:51 PM

View Postcuddytime, on 04 December 2012 - 06:56 PM, said:

View PostATXgolfer, on 04 December 2012 - 01:13 PM, said:

I get to play 2-3 times a week because I have access to a 9-hole course (with 3 par 4's) and it costs me $350 a year. If I did not have access to this facility, i know that my golfing would have been restricted to only a couple of rounds a month. This facility has short game practice facilities (sand, pitching), grass range, 3-hole par 3 course and putting greens. And the condition of the course and layout would rival any of the daily fee courses that charge $75 a round.

We need more of these in every city... does not have to be in top notch shape.. but cheap access to play golf. I don;t think you can become a better golfer without playing frequently, and it helps having access to such facilities so promote the game and have it picked up by more junior golfers.
is it harvey penick?

Yes. Have you played there?

#27 cuddytime

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:11 PM

Back in college, I used to go there with my ex; it's a great course

#28 4thand11

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:28 PM

Many people don't want to play a game that pretty much requires lessons in order to even participate. It's recreation, not a 2nd job. Never mind the expense of lessons which often don't even help.

I think the game would grow better if we stopped acting like hundreds of dollars on lessons was a requirement to play the game. It's intimidating and makes the whole thing seen like too much work.

Plenty of people play and enjoy golf without ever taking a lesson. The fun and social aspects of the game should be highlighted, family outings, pitch and putt, leagues, etc...




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