What Grows the Game?

rtparty

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We hear all the time that golf is in "trouble" and the game isn't growing. We also hear that sales are at an all time high and golf isn't in "trouble" right now. No matter which way you lean on that topic, I think we can all agree that golf growing is a good thing for all.

So my question is: What grows the game? What brings in more players and gets those players to stick around?

Apparel and fashion?
Easier courses?
Shorter tees?
Faster pace of play?
Cheaper rates and clubs?
A superstar getting tons of coverage?
6 or 12 hole courses?
Larger cups?
Something totally different?
 

JB

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This is a fun topic that I look forward to following.
 

TexasHacker34

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I think shorter round times, and cheaper rounds. Those two are the biggest. I know many of my friends don't play often because of price and how long it takes.
 

mikeg_74

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For my area it's definitely cheaper rounds. Pace of play isn't bad (could always be better) but to play a decent track in the am on a weekend I'm looking at a minimum of $70 and that's steep. That keeps me from playing more and why I practice more
 

Evok

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Faster play, less complicated rules, high tops and tights.
 

Jank

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Shorter, cheaper rounds
A mega (Tiger-like) superstar with mass appeal
 

dwchockey13

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So my question is: What grows the game? What brings in more players and gets those players to stick around?

Apparel and fashion?
Easier courses?
Shorter tees?
Faster pace of play?
Cheaper rates and clubs?
A superstar getting tons of coverage?
6 or 12 hole courses?
Larger cups?
Something totally different?
Are we talking about the average golfer? I know that THP helped grow my love for golf in the game, in the past I would randomly play and just look for cheap rates, now it's all about the experience because of you guys... but if we're talking in general, I believe most people want that "instant gratification" so easier courses, shorter tees (that aren't "gender specific"), and larger cups could have the biggest impact. I say gender specific because while most of us realize that it's not the case, there's still the stigma that the front tees are for kids/ladies. Major corporate sponsorship and prime time television with huge celebrities could possibly help grow the game of golf, but in all honest, almost everybody knows about golf so I don't know how much coverage would improve growing it, it's more making the game itself easier will bring people in.
 

fitz_22

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Faster play would be great. If I could get around in 3 hours I am more likely to play 18 more often but instead only end up doing 9. I think it becomes more appealing to larger groups of people if it is not considered a full day activity.
 

blugold

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What is going to grow the game? Parents.

Parents who golf need to get their kids to the course and show them how much fun the game is, despite what the scorecard says. Superstars help show the kids that golf is cool, as long as the superstar is cool. But that doesn't make kids want to play, it's people they know and respect that make them want to play. For me, it starts with parents.
 

HeadinSouth

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The game will always be fine in my opinion. It goes through highs and lows like anything. Nobody talked about the NBA back in the 70's and early 80's. Then Bird and Magic came along and it skyrocketed. MLB has been a little down lately.

The game was fine pre-Tiger and then peaked (maybe higher than it will ever be in the future) when Tiger was in his prime. It was down a little in previous years but I believe we will see an increase over the next few years due to Spieth, Day, McIlroy, and Fowler. After that who know? It will always have it's niche though.

You can't force people to play but new players will always be coming into the game. If you shop around you can get a really good set of used clubs for $500-$600 bucks maybe even less. As long as you are not a club ho the clubs can last you years. Keep them clean and change the grips. If you shop around for deals at clubs you can usually find them. At our course you can play weekend after 2 PM for $25 walking, all you can play. Heck, in July you could easily get in 27 and maybe even 36 after 2 PM. Do that once a week and you are not breaking the bank. If you are someone who has to play 3-4 times/week then it gets a little more pricey.
 

rtparty

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Are we talking about the average golfer? I know that THP helped grow my love for golf in the game, in the past I would randomly play and just look for cheap rates, now it's all about the experience because of you guys... but if we're talking in general, I believe most people want that "instant gratification" so easier courses, shorter tees (that aren't "gender specific"), and larger cups could have the biggest impact. I say gender specific because while most of us realize that it's not the case, there's still the stigma that the front tees are for kids/ladies. Major corporate sponsorship and prime time television with huge celebrities could possibly help grow the game of golf, but in all honest, almost everybody knows about golf so I don't know how much coverage would improve growing it, it's more making the game itself easier will bring people in.

It could be getting an average golfer to play more or someone brand new to the game.

My post is mostly just being curious. I truly wonder how you/we grow the game as a whole. Thought it would be fun to see what everyone thinks
 

SkiBumGolfer

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I would define "growing the game" as keeping up a flow of new players, in particular focus on youth. And I think, being fresh off the early stages of adulthood, that the key for the younger generation is:

-Fashion. Make it "cooler", for lack of a better word. The trick is harmonizing the new with the old, which is tough. Some strides have been made though.
-Cost. Cheaper rounds and accessible gear is big. Cheaper can be achieved by lower fees or by shorter rounds for a discount (6,9,12 holes)
-Fun games to get people into golf. Top Golf is a good example.
-Pace of play is key to keep people in the game.
 

v.man

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This is a topic I'll be very interested in following. I attended a membership meeting at my club last night to listen to club management explain the condition of the golf industry (clubs) in the Pensacola area and it wasn't very encouraging. Their main objective, of course, was to explain to the members why membership fees went up for 2016 by about 20%. The club is losing money and has been for several years. Memberships in 2009 were at about 500, and today 150, and they fully expect to lose several more with the new rate increases. Chief in the list of reasons is that the number of younger golfers coming into the game is being far outpaced by the number of oldsters that are leaving. Those in the younger generations that are coming into the game do not value club membership as much as before, and are more prone to compare cost of a round, the time invested and so forth, in choosing where they play. Even with the number of courses that have closed, there is very stiff competition in our area and the market will only tolerate a rate of around $40 per round. Many are below that rate. Our club is semi-private, as are most around here, because they cannot survive as private. Obviously, our 150 or so members cannot sustain a full service, private club.

The one thing that struck me during the meeting was that outside of listing all the challenges facing the golf industry, at least in our area, not one thought was put forward on what to do about it. Obviously, reversing the trend and beginning to grow the game again would be one solution, but no real ideas have come forth on how to do that.

Sorry for the rant and ramble, but, as you can see, it's a topic that is weighing on my mind at the moment.
 

Golf 'N Gator

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We hear all the time that golf is in "trouble" and the game isn't growing. We also hear that sales are at an all time high and golf isn't in "trouble" right now. No matter which way you lean on that topic, I think we can all agree that golf growing is a good thing for all.

So my question is: What grows the game? What brings in more players and gets those players to stick around?

Apparel and fashion?
Easier courses?
Shorter tees?
Faster pace of play?
Cheaper rates and clubs?
A superstar getting tons of coverage?
6 or 12 hole courses?
Larger cups?
Something totally different?
All of the above!
 

UVaWahoo

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My initial reaction was to respond "all of the above". But I think there are three basic factors. One, golf is a disposable income activity and I think many people are now being careful how they use their disposable income. Right or wrong, I think there is still the perception by many that golf is a "rich person's" game. Two, I think programs such as the "first tee" are important and should be expanded. When I was a youngster. golf was not cool. With programs such as this and others, I think golf is beginning to become cool to youngsters. Three, I think the profession must do a better job of introducing people to golf and the proper way to learn to play the game. i know a lot of courses and ranges offer beginner clinics. How many times have you been to the range and saw someone trying to teach another the golf swing, when they themselves could use some help. I suspect most times that student, so to speak, will go to the course, see that it is not easy, will become frustrated and quit. When someone asks me about getting into the game, I tell them don't just rush out to the golf course. Get some clubs, but take some lessons then hit the range. When you have a certain comfort about being able to at least hit the ball, play an executive course for a while then go to a regulation golf course. Even then don't be worried when using the forward tees. I also think it would be helpful that some established golfers may be a bit kinder at times to the beginners on a course.
 

cbaker2882

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Fun to watch pros. I'd have to guess there are a good amount of people in their 20's-30's that play golf because of Tiger.

That and it needs to be in schools more. The only reason I didn't play it growing up, even with enjoying it, was because it wasn't a school sport until high school and by then I was playing other sports.
 

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As to what will grow the game my answer is US! We all have to be "ambassadors" to the game. We are the ones who can help grow the game by bringing in more people. Maybe that one friend you have who doesn't golf because he has never tried it. Get them out there with you for a round or even some range time. We love the game so much let others see it, show them how great the game is. Yes some might still not like it but those that do we can bring into the game and grow the industry. We start to bring in more people and encourage them and let them fall in love with the game they will earn by example and continue to help grow the game themselves. Just my opinion, thats how I feel about it.
 

stevie-a

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Two aspects not mentioned:

Simplicity - clubs, courses, rules...we are trying to reach a "new" audience, so complication has to be removed making it easier for new players to get acclimated. Like riding a bike, the training wheels can come off later and you don't start off on a 10-speed.

Acceptance - this is broad, but very similar to society as a whole. Being accepting of diversity, something new and different, and not expecting conformity to "how we've always done it" before. Don't confuse this with changing the game itself....rather I'm thinking of equipment, clothing, music, perspectives, beliefs. We will all still hit a ball with the intent of getting it into the hole in as few strokes as possible...but how we go about doing it can be different and it be ok.
 

Blazer

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I feel this "grow the game" movement is based in economics. The golf industry grew too fast during the early years of the Tiger era and is now experiencing a healthy correction.

Do we really want more golfers on the course? Do we really need more golf courses?
 

blugold

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I feel this "grow the game" movement is based in economics. The golf industry grew too fast during the early years of the Tiger era and is now experiencing a healthy correction.

Do we really want more golfers on the course? Do we really need more golf courses?
High tide lifts all ships.

I don't really care about more courses, I just care that the courses I play continue to stay open.
 

emart2173

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It has to be with getting more young people involved. Cheaper rounds, faster rounds will go a long way. Young people don't seem to have the desire to spend hours at a course and pay the cost of golf that takes away from buying a new game or other hobby they have coupled with many of them not being employed or working in low paying jobs.

i think another think lacking is that superstar that can draw them to the game. Rickie, Rory, Day and some of the other younger stars may get their attention but how many are playing golf as a result of them vice just into Rickies fashion. There isn't that Tiger effect that is drawing a younger crowd into playing.

the perception of golf has to change for the younger crowd as well. Golf boards, music on the course that doesn't disrupt other groups, more of a social aspect may be some things to focus on to draw them in.
 

wubears71

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More rap music on on the course. I was listening to Easy E today and Grandpa Moses heard it and gave me the look of death. He was over in my fairway looking for his ball that he shanked into the brush.

My point is get rid of some of the stuffiness. Other than that, quicker pace of play!


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Mark_UK

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Is the game really in trouble or is it just media bs?
 

ArmyGolf

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Is the game really in trouble or is it just media bs?
As an entire entity the game is, or at least was, shrinking.
Locally the game is doing just fine and selfishly I have no desire to see it grow.
 

InTheRough

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I think that if courses would have a "Play 9" and offer a 9 hole rate throughout the day including making it less than their twilight rate it would help a lot. $25 for 18 holes at twilight rate after 5 pm is ridiculous considering you're not going to get in more than 9 holes anyway before it gets dark... unless you're racing around in a cart with an open course in front of you (lol) and the cart costs another $8.

Many courses around here charge $33 or more for regular green fees, and $20 or no rate for 9 holes until 3:00 in the summer and drop to $24 after 3:00 for 18 with no 9 hole rate. But some people don't have time to play 18 but would play 9.

Also drop the "no denim" code. If people want to wear that hot fabric in the summer on the course, fine.
 

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