Last week I mentioned that I wasn't playing much golf, and according to some figures published here recently — I'm not the only one. Rounds are way down and golf equipment sales are just tanking. TV ratings are taking a huge hit and golf courses across the map are folding left and right. So why has the biz entered such a rough patch of late? The entire industry seems to be buried in a green side bunker on #12. I hate to speculate and will leave this problem to the "experts" but here are FORE reasons why golf is declining.
GOLF IS TOO DANG EXPENSIVE. Yes. There are plenty of ways to save money on golf nowadays. Kudos to our local courses who offer many discounts and specials. But let's face it folks — golf is still a game for the wealthy. Good luck finding a decent set of NEW clubs for under $800. Membership fees and rates have also increased. The same goes with the number of gadgets and training aids. It's nuts. Golf isn't as hip as it used to be and some may even call it a snooty sport for the elite.
GOLF IS TOO DANG HARD. It is. Name another sport that simply kicks your tail. Causes relationship break ups and major headaches. And yet we continue to play as often as we can. Golf is not a rewarding game by any measure. Okay, you might hit one good shot or drain a lengthy putt, but we tend to forget the six other shots that ended up in the water or trees. Golf is not only a pricy sport to get into but it’s a very frustrating game for beginners as well. When folks ask me for a quick tip with their long irons, I usually tell them to try fishing.
PEOPLE ARE TOO DANG BUSY. When someone asks how I'm doing? I usually respond like most by saying crazy busy. Studies show that leisure time has shrunk for both sexes and that us men are doing more work around the house. A “leisure gap” still exists between moms and dads but we are closing in fast. I will not vacuum. So dads tend to enjoy an extra hour per day of free time on weekends compared to mom. But I'd rather watch TV than hit the local course. According to “Ellen” — fathers spend an average of 2.6 hours per week participating in leisure activities. That's tough to squeeze in a five hour round.
GOLF ISN'T COOL WITH OUR YOUTH TODAY. Kids are just as active as their parents nowadays. It's true. Tweens and teens don't have time to play golf with baseball and soccer practices. Guitar lessons and Nerf gun wars. Even if kids had more time — would they even want to spend it at the course playing a snooty old man's sport? Come on man. If you can't download it on your iPad or stream it on your Xbox — you are out.
Skeptics insist that golf isn’t dying. They say that it's merely taking a natural dip after the worldwide phenomenon named the “Tiger Boom”. During the boom, most of 20-somethings who were out hacking every weekend were out there because of one man: Tiger Woods. Golf's heyday coincided neatly with Tiger's run of 14 major championships. He's the individual most to blame for those thousands of Craigslist ads for used clubs. But after the infidelity scandals and loads of injuries, fewer people are watching golf on TV, buying golf gear in stores, and actually going out and playing golf. Truth be told — the game not only lost its best player, but it's leading ambassador is now sadly gone. Jordan who? We need another Tiger. Bad.