Diversity in the Game Today

Jersey Nate

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The game of golf has undoubtedly undergone an evolution in many aspects - equipment, rules, global reach...and I am wondering what THPers think about the evolution of the game as far as the diversity of its players. Does the game still need to try and attract a more multicultural base to survive? A younger base? Does a gesture like Augusta National's recent admittance of women tell an important story? Does the game still carry a stigma (to non-golfers) of being a rich man's sport?

This thread might fall flat, but I thought it might be an interesting topic.
 

TexasHacker34

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I am not sure they need to "recruit" more diverse people, but I for sure think they need to recruit MORE people in general. I don't think the two have to go hand in hand, but I hope they do. I think they need to make golf more affordable before they are going to get a lot more people to start to play. I also think the amount of time it takes to play a round is a detractor as well, but with guys like Rickie Fowler I think the game is starting to appeal to younger golfers.

I really hope that we can continue to keep the game thriving and whether that is through diversity or whatever it is, I just want it to grow.
 

tpluff

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I think it's a great conversation starter Nate. Golf is doing a great job at expanding it's reach, and now South/LatinAmerica seems to be the focus of many for expansion. Evidence is the re-admittance of golf in the Olympics (maybe an idea for another thread). It goes without saying that many face insurmountable barriers to participate, but I think the diversity in the game of golf is at a good point, but needs to continue.
 

Erky

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Yes, golf needs to appeal to a wider audience. Not enough people are playing in general in America. My home course for GHIN is a municipal course called Rogers Park in Tampa. It was built during segregation, and was the only golf course in Tampa that allowed blacks. It was the second course in Florida to ever allow blacks. The First Tee of Tampa Bay is located there, and many of the players at Rogers Park are still black. Ethnically, it looks nothing like most of the other courses I play. I don't know why the game isn't more diverse in America. I suppose we all have different ideas why. It's still expensive. It still takes a lot of time, and it still has a long way to go.
 

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As long as no one else starts tucking their ears under their hat.
 

c0ncept

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I wont say rich man's sport but still a mans sport. It is unfortunate seeing how others handle themselves when I play with my mom
 

mikeg_74

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I think the game needs to attract more youth period. Whether its in the inner city or suburbs, Kids have so many other options to chose from & golf needs to figure how to be proactive with recruiting players and not be reactive.

Once they figure out how to get the kids to stay involved diversity will follow IMO
 

coers

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I do not think this is a rich man's sport especially since I live in central Illinois and half the people I play with there clubs are like 5 to 10 years old. And I think golf can always get more diverse. One of my golf buddies that was born in Mexico always tells me he would love to see more Mexican golfers especially like a Lee Trivino. And I think especially after Tiger got where is I think it has welcomed alot more diverse people into golf. Also enjoy that some of the tour play is making the rounds to other countries around the world.
 

Northerner

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The game of golf has undoubtedly undergone an evolution in many aspects - equipment, rules, global reach...and I am wondering what THPers think about the evolution of the game as far as the diversity of its players. Does the game still need to try and attract a more multicultural base to survive?
It's plenty multicultural. There are players from all over the world on the golf tours.

Korea, Argentina, Africa, Norway, Ireland, England, Spain, Mexico, and on it goes. I'm not sure about it, but I would be willing to bet the pro golf tours are way more diverse than the NBA, for example.
 

golfboyblues

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Covid has brought more players to the game. There was a huge increase in rounds played and revenue generated through sales of golf related products. My home course rounds were way up even though they were closed for a month in the spring and had another three weeks of walking only. The question that remains is - will those new or returning players stay when covid has been controlled and/or eliminated?

In order for golf to really appeal to a more diverse community it has to become more affordable and take less time to play.
 

Stryker

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It’s an interesting question. It is somewhat ironic that someone I know started talking to me about his opinion of why the LPGA tour has less interest from the majority of people who play and watch golf in the United States. His actual theory was that more US golfers would be interested if attractive US women were more competitive.

I am all for diversity but to a certain degree I can see where he is coming from. His point was basically that more US men would be interested in watching if less “athletic” non US women were not always at the top of the players winning. His basic theory was an attractive US woman was more consistently in the mix then more US golfers would be interested in watching.

It is an interesting concept but I think it is important to have all types of people from any nationality and body type to show that it is indeed a game for everyone.
 

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If we are talking about golf at the highest levels, the issue continues to be cost. A lot of golf is about reps and practice. There is a large segment of the population who just don't have access to courses/instruction/tournaments that those with means do. When you listen to the profile of most US pros (male and female), almost all of them were exposed to the game early and had the opportunity to play/practice/compete often at an early age.

Unfortunately, the US is going in the wrong direction with a lot of youth sports. Baseball and soccer have joined golf as big 'pay to play' sports. Baseball used to be a game kids played casually and in little league. Now we have U9 leagues with a spring and fall season, and a summer full of tournaments. Kids used to share 4 bats on a little league team, now they have a $200 glove and bag full of multiple bats, a batting coach, pitching coach, speed/agility coach and countless camps. Kids aren't getting equal access to the access/development across the socioeconomic range. There is likely a lot of untapped potential in all three sports. Even Tiger Woods, who was heralded as a breakthrough for golf from a diversity perspective, had a dad who played at a high level and got him access to play/practice at a formative age.


As much as sports can be a meritocracy, a lot of sports are about who can pay for access.
 
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mantan

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It’s an interesting question. It is somewhat ironic that someone I know started talking to me about his opinion of why the LPGA tour has less interest from the majority of people who play and watch golf in the United States. His actual theory was that more US golfers would be interested if attractive US women were more competitive.

I am all for diversity but to a certain degree I can see where he is coming from. His point was basically that more US men would be interested in watching if less “athletic” non US women were not always at the top of the players winning. His basic theory was an attractive US woman was more consistently in the mix then more US golfers would be interested in watching.

It is an interesting concept but I think it is important to have all types of people from any nationality and body type to show that it is indeed a game for everyone.
I struggle with that a bit. I get sports in the US is driven largely by a male sports crowd, but the idea that a woman has to reach the top of her sport AND be eye candy for guys to watch makes every dad who has a daughter playing a sport cringe.
 

kiwichris

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I would first ask what you define diversity as, race, gender etc?

Like the thread i started regarding courses having times or beginners only times, I think its about getting more people interested in the game.

Having access to the sport along with people willing to help with rules/ etiquette etc is better.
 

Rummpd

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A someone in a mulit-ethnic marriage and have worked in several countries - I am all for this expansion and growing the game however we can to as many as we can.
 

PuffChippy

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I’m a big fan of open doors, not so much on forcing certain people through those doors just to meet unspoken quotas. Ever since starting golf back in the 80s, I’ve always played municipals and other low budget courses where nobody cared what color your skin was or what genitals you had, or if they did I never saw it. Maybe it was different at high dollar clubs. With that said, golf is an incredibly expensive sport, and it takes major investments of free time just to muddle through, so it’ll likely always be the realm of more affluent people with spare time and cash.

In regards to the LPGA comment above, women’s sports in general are ignored for a variety of reasons I won’t go into, however IMO the LPGA already fares better than most. I bet many people could name one or two LPGA pros. How many pro softball players can you name, or professional female hockey players? You could argue that golf is one of the most diverse sports there is already.
 

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I’m a big fan of open doors, not so much on forcing certain people through those doors just to meet unspoken quotas.

If kids don't want to play golf - if they don't have the slightest interest in it or are way more interested in other sports - is that a "problem"?

If so, why?

Moreover, there are millions of poor whites in America. Is it a problem that they may want to play, and they can't afford it, or not? And if not, why not?

Society is so stuck on "people need people who look like them"...but I was raised that it shouldn't matter what a person looked like.


The first album I ever bought was Living Colour - a black rock group. Not because of the way they looked, but because I fell in love with their music.
 

JB

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I would first ask what you define diversity as, race, gender etc?

Like the thread i started regarding courses having times or beginners only times, I think its about getting more people interested in the game.

Having access to the sport along with people willing to help with rules/ etiquette etc is better.
Well the OP is from about 7 years ago, so not sure you are going to get an answer. Dug up with searching for diversity I would guess.

Golf is booming currently in just about every facet.
 

Northerner

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Well the OP is from about 7 years ago, so not sure you are going to get an answer. Dug up with searching for diversity I would guess.
That's correct. I searched the term and bingo. I generally don't like to jam up boards with redundant threads so I usually bump old threads (elsewhere and here).


The "diversity" talking point has been all over TGC lately and all over commercials as well going back several months for reasons many of us are familiar with due to the fact we can not escape it.
 

kiwichris

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Well the OP is from about 7 years ago, so not sure you are going to get an answer. Dug up with searching for diversity I would guess.

Golf is booming currently in just about every facet.
It is & that's the best thing. I'm super happy that through Top Golf my wife now wants to play real golf with me, so whatever the game can do to get more people in general excited and wanting to play on a good thing
 

PuffChippy

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If kids don't want to play golf - if they don't have the slightest interest in it or are way more interested in other sports - is that a "problem"?

If so, why?

Moreover, there are millions of poor whites in America. Is it a problem that they may want to play, and they can't afford it, or not? And if not, why not?

Society is so stuck on "people need people who look like them"...but I was raised that it shouldn't matter what a person looked like.


The first album I ever bought was Living Colour - a black rock group. Not because of the way they looked, but because I fell in love with their music.
I kinda feel you completely missed what I was saying.
 

orchard53

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Interesting. When the kids are at the course for First Tee activities, it seems to be a pretty diverse group of boys and girls. I think the lack of short courses in populated areas hurts, along with it's not a sport taught in PE. I do agree a lack of personal role models impacts exposure. I'd like to see more events where the pair kids/juniors up with adults in a scramble or casual rounds. Or have a kids equivalent of Top Golf.
 

WLG1952

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Most all the diverse changes I've seen in the game is at the pro levels. Players are stronger, and in general better players as a group. Obviously their equipment has improved over the years.

At the amature level I see the same type of golfers now, that I saw 30-40 years ago. Yes the newer, more modern equipment is better, but the good shots, and bad shots haven't changed that much.

Even with better, modern course grooming equipment, not much has changed for the weekend warrior, and competitive amatures.
 

NeverWiff

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I think there is more diversity than when I was a kid (I’m 55). That said, diversity probably lags behind where we would expect it to be. But it’s still a fairly expensive and intimidating game to start playing if you’ve never been exposed to it.

To make the game more accessible and less intimidating, I really believe that the 9 hole Muni track is the best gateway for kids and adults alike.

My feeling... communities need more of these short courses, as well as more welcoming starters & staff. Maybe even a volunteer “pro” walking the course, offering tips or challenging kids & adults to closest to the pin challenges and offering encouragement & tips, while you people play the course... maybe even second hand club sales or loaner sets for complete newbies. It would go a LONG way toward putting people at ease and bring them back for more.

Golf is a great game and a game you can play for life. Why not promote it as such and welcome new players?
 

Canadan

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Golf is a pay to play sport. I felt that after college and played other free-to-play sports with my wife while I started to build my own asset base.. until I could afford to play golf at the frequency that appealed to me.

For a game that requires significant expense for upkeep, I can only assume that there will always be some level of cost associated with playing that game. With that said, old clubs are cheap as hell (basically as cheap as you want to go with eBay and garage sales), and 18 holes at the local munis (outside of the cities where nothing is feasible) is at a price that works for pretty much anyone who is self sustainable in life.

Outside of the monetary barrier? I think golf is in an incredible place. Sure, there are places where diversity is stuck, but frankly there are courses where 99.999% of the population isn't invited to (I can think of a couple here locally) and I don't think anything of it. Let them have their second generation wealth and stuffiness, I'll pass!
 

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