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Old 09-15-2016, 04:41 PM   #1
flabucki09
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Lets Make Golf Great Again

How about its own thread for a while. I will look up the stats - but a recent podcast discussion I listened to sounded like doom and gloom for the golf course business. They were discussing the reduction in number of rounds played, and most importantly "who" is playing them.

That said, as someone just getting back into playing after a pretty long absence, there are obvious issues related to making the game more affordable, more accessible and more inviting. As a group that loves the game please leave your thoughts and ideas....

Pace of play - way too many players watch way to much golf on TV. Unless you have big money on the line there is no reason to take so long to play. 5 hour rounds drive players away - new and old.

9 hole options - I don't know about your areas - but where I am from, and where I live now, there are no 9 hole courses (or 9 hole options at existing 18 hole courses). I might enjoy a quick 2 - 2 1/2 hours on the course sometimes. A long lunch to play 9 isn't an option anymore.

Walk not ride options - for those of us that don't piddle**** around a walking option is faster than those two guys that spray the ball side to side. Walking can be enjoyable exercise as well. That said the new courses are not designed to allow walkers. Way to far between tees.

Muni courses vs country club style courses and prices. Not every golf course has to look like and strive to be a PGA Tour stop. Sometimes a Muni course with nice greens is good enough for new and average players alike. These are usually moderately priced as well.

I know there are scores of reasons why the rounds are declining. But I do think the industry is bringing it upon themselves. The PGA and USGA better start working together to address it or we will go back to the days where golf is strictly a Country Club sport.
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:49 PM   #2
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

good topic, thank you OP

i think something you will see and that will be helpful is more blurring between municipals and all but the best private clubs. basically more pricing plans - season pass at lesser courses, paid $120+ rounds at good clubs....... basically squeeze more revenue than from existing models.

anything to get more kids involved. my course has kids night once a week and little 5 year-olds love golf even though they can only make contact occasionally....

maybe set up a pitch and putt set-up at night a few nights a week. on early holes where no one is teeing off anyway......... things like turning your practice green and maybe a few greens into a putting course.
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:50 PM   #3
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

here's a question:

why do asians - specifically koreans - love golf so much?....... try to understand that and it might have some insight into how to market golf in NA - obviously koreans and NA are different cultures but you might learn something.
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:51 AM   #4
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

Here are a few stats I found when looking around...

By any measure, participation in the game is way off, from a high of 30.6 million golfers in 2003 to 24.7 million in 2014, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). The long-term trends are also troubling, with the number of golfers ages 18 to 34 showing a 30 percent decline over the last 20 years. Nearly every metric — TV ratings, rounds played, golf-equipment sales, golf courses constructed — shows a drop-off. "I look forward to a time when we've got the wind at our back, but that's not what we're expecting," says Oliver "Chip" Brewer, president and CEO of Callaway. "This is a demographic challenge."

In 2006 some 30m Americans were golfers. But since then golf has hit a rough patch.

And it is now struggling to attract a new generation of American players. In 2013, 160 of the country’s 14,600 golf facilities closed, the 8th consecutive year of net closures. The number of players has fallen to around 25m.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:51 PM   #5
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

I honestly think golf is just too expensive making it something you do once a month at best unless you are pretty serious about it.

In my area at the muni course it used to be about $15-20 for green fees and $15 for a cart that you'd split with a buddy so you'd play 18 holes with a cart for $22-27. Now it is more like $25 for green fees and the cart is per rider at $14 each making it $40 for 18 and a cart, big difference. You used to be able to split the cart at $7.50 each. Almost all public courses have made this switch. This is a cheap example, but all courses have made this increase.

Equipment is outrageously more expensive. Top of the line driver was $300 a few years ago. Now it's $500. WTF! Top of the line set of irons was 799 or 899 maybe and now its 1199+. WTF! Sure the newbie can pick up a full set of whatevers for ~300 but the point is how much it has gone up. It's ridic.

I don't feel like the pace of play has really gotten any worse than it ever was in the past, but I do think people in general just have less spare time so it becomes more of an issue now.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

I have zero numbers to back up anything I'm about to say, but I think it's just a "back to normal" from an overhyped and oversaturated industry.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:14 PM   #7
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

It'd be nice to have a few more options for playing partners, but other than that, I definitely don't care how many people play golf.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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It'd be nice to have a few more options for playing partners, but other than that, I definitely don't care how many people play golf.
I prefer the less crowded courses, just don't want them to turn into cornfields.
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Old 09-21-2016, 02:51 PM   #9
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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I have zero numbers to back up anything I'm about to say, but I think it's just a "back to normal" from an overhyped and oversaturated industry.
Some of it. But it also could be a shift to the number of hours that people want to dedicate to one single activity. They say 2.5 hours is the most anything should be nowadays. A movie, a baseball game, a birthday party, etc.

Golf is easily 6 to 7 hours when you include the drive time, warming up at range, the bar after, and the drive back home.

Nine holes is enough...
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:35 AM   #10
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

wow, ten hole posts without the words Tiger Effect! Golfsmith actually used the words in their chapter 11 filing.

pretty basic that anytime there is a spike, there will eventually be contraction.

golf is fine.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:53 PM   #11
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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Originally Posted by #Thinman View Post
wow, ten hole posts without the words Tiger Effect! Golfsmith actually used the words in their chapter 11 filing.

pretty basic that anytime there is a spike, there will eventually be contraction.

golf is fine.
While the common stance is that reverting back to pre-Tiger is coming I don't see where the cost will revert as well.

I agree that golf will be fine. But what happened was that during the spike many, many courses were built, many off shoot businesses were developed, golf retail expanded and the golf equipment manufacturers saw the gold at the end of the rainbow. All this drove the overall cost of play to increase. Now as courses close, or reduce their maintenance, will costs decrease? Will GC owners look at different ways to generate play? Will equipment manufacturers hold the pricing lines or stay the course of their pharmaceutical brothers and say the cost of development and design must be passed on to the users?
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:55 PM   #12
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

i can't answer any of that because i live in the bay area and prices NEVER go down for anything, for any reason. it's a foxtail.
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:42 PM   #13
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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golf is fine.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/featur...es-are-burning

Nothing to see folks, nothing to see.
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:53 PM   #14
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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Some of it. But it also could be a shift to the number of hours that people want to dedicate to one single activity. They say 2.5 hours is the most anything should be nowadays. A movie, a baseball game, a birthday party, etc.

Golf is easily 6 to 7 hours when you include the drive time, warming up at range, the bar after, and the drive back home.

Nine holes is enough...
i agree generally... i love college football but the thought of a 4 hour game, getting there at least an hour early and then hours each way even for short commute = 8-9 hours minimum... don't love it that much. but would love hypothetically to be beamed in and watch half the game i.e. 2 hours or a little under.

one big advantage of joining expensive private club is finding enjoyable people to play with... i think public clubs might want to do more that way.

also, little free tournaments - 9 holes as mentioned - for frequent customers would be very popular i think.

make existing part-time golfers more sticky....
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:59 PM   #15
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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Originally Posted by golfnutt View Post
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/featur...es-are-burning

Nothing to see folks, nothing to see.
That is a sobering article.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:29 PM   #16
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

more and cheaper options, especially walking and 9 holes. I'm in DFW area where there are a ton of courses and there's one (maybe two) courses within 30min of me where there's a weekday twlight walking option for under $20. Used to be multiple in the $10-$15 range. Unless it's weekday late twilight or a golfnow hotdeal, it's really hard to play a decent course for under $30.

The cost and pace of play is what's driving people away. Any reasonable course on the weekend is $60. And playing under 4.5 hours is pretty much impossible. Been seeing lots of signage on course and tutorials on carts about how to play ready golf, then the course has 8 minute tee times, what a joke. Anything less than 10min tee times is ridiculous.
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Old 09-25-2016, 01:05 AM   #17
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

Agreed, north of the border some courses really jam in 7-10 minute teetimes. They pack the course up and it crawls.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:09 AM   #18
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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That is a sobering article.
Golf is fine perhaps if you live in a bubble. Using your home course as a gauge of issues is like saying there is no unemployment issue when you are employed.

"Golf" is in a disastrous position. Dick's, Nike, GolfSmith and a golf course closing a day are a significant market correction. Fewer courses will mean fewer people taking up the game, restricting future growth. The chances of learning golf if you don't live near a golf course are probably 0%. Like the chances of learning to surf if you live in Oklahoma.

Golf will shrink and then find its base. I don't think anybody knows where that is and what it will mean in 20 years.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:12 AM   #19
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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i can't answer any of that because i live in the bay area and prices NEVER go down for anything, for any reason. it's a foxtail.
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/01/1...y-in-the-game/

Costs for the golf course operators are going up even faster. Dovetail.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:02 AM   #20
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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The cost and pace of play is what's driving people away.
It is more than the pace of play and cost.

It is time itself and time value of money.

The economy has rebounded the last 5 years and the demographic group golf targets, the "1%", have done phenomenally.

Why isn't golf booming like the housing market? It certainly shouldn't be free-falling.

The 6-hour window is gone. Maybe not forever, but it certainly feels that way.

There are a lot of golf courses that don't allow cell phones and use is frowned upon.

Who in 6 hours of a day:
-Not check and respond to work emails/texts
-Not listen to voicemails or make calls
-Not receive a text from a friend/family member
-Not send a text to a friend/family member
-Not check the news
-Not have another event for a family member on the weekends at the same time
-Not need to just relax for themselves

You need to find THREE other people who fit this criteria at the same exact time and all have to stay for the full time. It isn't like a party where you can show up 30 minutes late or leave 30 minutes early.

Pick any profession and imagine that person being able to be radio silent for 6 hours. Golf is a game. You can't make a 20-minute phone call.

Think golf is stressful. Being on a golf course when you have other duties is much more stressful. That are usually much more important and less self-serving activities than putting a tiny ball into 18 holes over hours.

The money is also gone. If you put that money into a house, you invest in yourself. And you find cheaper substitutes to feel the void of golf that gives you almost near same satisfaction levels.

As someone said, golf is a 4-hour activity in a 4-second world. We really do live in a world of outside information being constantly soaked up and dished out. Golf is a hindrance to the new world order we live with our cell phones. Even if we don't want it, the world expects it. That new client doesn't want to wait 6 hours because you are on the golf course. He will find someone available immediately.

If a recession hits, goodbye whatever fragments of golf are remaining. The golf courses that are closing aren't the ones that just opened. They are 50 to 100 year old courses. 95% of country clubs are struggling. The only one who care are a few hundred members of the club. The rest of the city citizens are happy when a club closes. There is no sadness. The majority were excluded from playing there their whole lives. Real estate developers salivate to take over land.

There is no golf rebound. It is not economy improving. Economy has improved and it has gotten much worse. Golf courses closing in the Bay Area is all you need to know.
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:31 AM   #21
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

LOLOLOLOL you gotta be kidding me

the par3 in san jose was a dogtrack, forced by the closing of Thunderbird, east san jose's finest gang hang out.

the other muni that may close here, los lagos, is the stupidest layout in the world and that is why it never received the support it needed from actual golfers and it became a beginner/hacker course

brentwood is the model of over development and in 2008, you could get "a million dollar home"....for about $150k in any one of the empty ****ed-commute communities there. it is a joke of a town and i doubt closures there are done.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:38 PM   #22
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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more and cheaper options, especially walking and 9 holes. I'm in DFW area where there are a ton of courses and there's one (maybe two) courses within 30min of me where there's a weekday twlight walking option for under $20. Used to be multiple in the $10-$15 range. Unless it's weekday late twilight or a golfnow hotdeal, it's really hard to play a decent course for under $30.
You are in Dallas? Don't worry. Options are coming. One that will put Dallas on the map of golf again.

http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/othe...se-near-future

***With a $150,000 initiation fee, Trinity Forest has about 100 members. Most of the public play will consist of charity tournaments***

Golf is certainly fine for those 100 members.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:22 PM   #23
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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Originally Posted by golfnutt View Post
It is more than the pace of play and cost.



There are a lot of golf courses that don't allow cell phones and use is frowned upon.
I have never heard of this. Golf is still a business activity.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:08 PM   #24
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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Originally Posted by golfnutt View Post
It is more than the pace of play and cost.

It is time itself and time value of money.

The economy has rebounded the last 5 years and the demographic group golf targets, the "1%", have done phenomenally.

Why isn't golf booming like the housing market? It certainly shouldn't be free-falling.

The 6-hour window is gone. Maybe not forever, but it certainly feels that way.

There are a lot of golf courses that don't allow cell phones and use is frowned upon.

Who in 6 hours of a day:
-Not check and respond to work emails/texts
-Not listen to voicemails or make calls
-Not receive a text from a friend/family member
-Not send a text to a friend/family member
-Not check the news
-Not have another event for a family member on the weekends at the same time
-Not need to just relax for themselves

You need to find THREE other people who fit this criteria at the same exact time and all have to stay for the full time. It isn't like a party where you can show up 30 minutes late or leave 30 minutes early.

Pick any profession and imagine that person being able to be radio silent for 6 hours. Golf is a game. You can't make a 20-minute phone call.

Think golf is stressful. Being on a golf course when you have other duties is much more stressful. That are usually much more important and less self-serving activities than putting a tiny ball into 18 holes over hours.

The money is also gone. If you put that money into a house, you invest in yourself. And you find cheaper substitutes to feel the void of golf that gives you almost near same satisfaction levels.

As someone said, golf is a 4-hour activity in a 4-second world. We really do live in a world of outside information being constantly soaked up and dished out. Golf is a hindrance to the new world order we live with our cell phones. Even if we don't want it, the world expects it. That new client doesn't want to wait 6 hours because you are on the golf course. He will find someone available immediately.

If a recession hits, goodbye whatever fragments of golf are remaining. The golf courses that are closing aren't the ones that just opened. They are 50 to 100 year old courses. 95% of country clubs are struggling. The only one who care are a few hundred members of the club. The rest of the city citizens are happy when a club closes. There is no sadness. The majority were excluded from playing there their whole lives. Real estate developers salivate to take over land.

There is no golf rebound. It is not economy improving. Economy has improved and it has gotten much worse. Golf courses closing in the Bay Area is all you need to know.
A LOT of courses not allowing cell phones? Id be shocked if it was more than 1%.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:22 PM   #25
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Re: Lets Make Golf Great Again

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A LOT of courses not allowing cell phones? Id be shocked if it was more than 1%.
Country clubs.

And even in places where they do allow cell phones, how long of a phone call you make without it interrupting everyone? Not everything can be accomplished by text over 4 hours.
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