There are many reports out there concerning the future of golf and those reports do not paint a very rosy long-term picture for the sport. Courses are closing up left and right and rounds played have decreased in recent years. Golf merchandise sales have also declined. Just yesterday, Nike announced that they will no longer make golf equipment like clubs and balls. It certainly appears that the game of golf in this country is dying a slow death. Will it ever recover and be as popular as it was during the Tiger Woods days of the late 90’s? That is anyone’s guess. I have a few ideas that might put some new life back into the sport.
Golf is a huge passion of mine. I have a membership at a local golf course and being at the course brings me joy like few other things in my life. It is a great outdoor activity that I have been hooked on for several years. There is nothing like going out to play a round on a warm summer morning or evening. The smell of the golf course and the sounds and sights of nature make it a very enjoyable experience for me. Of course that is if I am playing well! Those reports have me thinking that I will not be able to enjoy this great game during my retirement years. Will there be anymore golf course left when that time comes?
Things change in our society from year to year and the game of golf has to change as well too. Golf is simply not appealing to many folks in this new day and age of our society. For one thing, people these days do not have the time to play golf. Name one person you know who complains about having too much time on their hands? We all seem to be strapped for our time these days. I personally have to carefully plan my schedule so my golf does not interfere with other things in my life. And I am a single guy! I just don’t know how a person with a growing family can play that much golf. A normal round on a Saturday usually takes about 5 hours. Who has time for that?
On top of the time issue, golf is a very costly sport and in some cases, too costly. The green fees along with the equipment is out the range of most people’s budgets. In these difficult times, an average person simply cannot afford to be playing numerous rounds of golf per year. There are far cheaper sports or past times that people can purse without breaking the bank.
The difficulty of golf is another thing that keeps people away. I see numerous courses which an average player has no business stepping on. In order to be good at golf, you have to play a lot and most folks do not play enough to get enough satisfaction in their own game. It is simply not fun to go out and hack the ball around.
I believe golf can increase in popularity again by addressing these issues. The time issue is very easy to deal with. Just play 9 holes! Most course have that option where you can just play 9 holes. I often just play 9 holes at my course and it usually only takes me about an hour and a half. That is a perfect amount of time for a round. Courses could have 6 holes options too. It would be nice if more shorter 9 hole course were built that especially cater to the younger golfers.
On that note, I think many courses are simply too difficult for the average player. I see so-called family courses that might strike the fear into some golf pros. There is no need to have fancy slopping greens and sand bunkers on every hole. In addition, these courses would be cheaper to maintain and the green fees would be lower.
I honestly think golf will always be there. Far too many people play for it to suddenly die. Many people overestimated the popularity of golf about 20 years ago. It was a booming sport and new golf courses were not being built fast enough. Today is a totally different story. How will the golf industry adapt and make the game more appealing is the big question going forward. It is critical that they target the youth of our country and make golf a cool thing to play. Is that possible in this day and age? Or are kids more interested in playing Pokemon for 2 hours?
For the sake of the sport, golf needs some simple changes right now before it just becomes some exclusive sport played by a bunch of rich people belonging to a private country club. Unfortunately, that trend is happening and a huge group of players like myself will be affected. Golf is not yet dead, but there is a lot more that can be done so more people can enjoy playing this great outdoor activity.