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Why is golf a hard sell?


Big money
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That time of year again at my club. The big push for getting new members signed up.This time around they are offering us referral discounts and prizes.Just about every potential referral  I had has something negative to say about golf.The million excuses why they won’t join or take up golf.Why is this game such a hard sell for introducing new people to the game?

Keep it in the short stuff

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Would say this would be a bad year for a member drive in my area. An extremely long and brutal winter. Followed by a spring that has yielded record rains and massive flooding so far. Weather is a huge factor why people refrain from outdoor sports activities at times. And golf is a sport that requires one to really be avid and active to be worthwhile. The bad weather and long winters don’t justify the investment of time and money needed to join a club. 

I for one play and practice in any type of weather conditions. I still stink, but the drive and ambition for improvement is always there. 

Edited by Big money
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Keep it in the short stuff

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IMO.. not enough young kids being introduced. That's one of the reasons I'm heavily invested in The First Tee.

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In a world of instant gratification, golf is one of those games that takes time and patience to aquire any kind of positive results. Unfortunately, I've seen, many want to play at the level they see on TV and when they try without proper instruction, equipment, and mind set, they fail on their first attempt, toss the clubs in the garage.

Perhaps one idea would be to have something like an open house allowing people to try different aspects, like a putt,chip,drive event. Don't go on the course, that would spell failure from the start. The putt,chip,drive might spark an interest to explore the game further.

Just my thinking.

Chris

Edited by LeftyHawk
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IMO.. not enough young kids being introduced. That's one of the reasons I'm heavily invested in The First Tee.


Also why all three of my children compete in PGA Jr league.


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It's not a cheap thing to take up, regardless of the mantra "it can be as cheap as you want it to be". No, it can't. It can only be so cheap/inexpensive to a point. After that, it costs what it costs. The initial cost, IMO isn't what the problem is. It's the cost of actually playing. Yes, only a few rounds a year is not that expensive, but if you really want to play at least once a week, it gets pricey. Most of us lose quite a few balls over a year (they don't give those away.... not even Top Flights). Most courses in my area are not any cheaper than $30.00 for a round.... most are 2-10 $$$ more than that. Most folks making the median income in this country find that hard to do when there are other things that demand the $$$.

I know this isn't a popular opinion, but as one who has to figure out how to play as often as I like, it aint easy when there so many other things that require money. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way.

I also understand that it takes money to run a golf course, keep staff paid and the doors open. This is why I feel golf will eventually become the realm of the wealthy/affluent... again.

Edited by silver & black
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Golf is hard and everyone wants to be good right now. 

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I think another big problem with young kids getting into golf is there parents having unrealistic expectations. I coach college golf and I've had parents come to me speaking about how there senior in high school (who shoots in the high 90s) has potential to get on tour.

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I think it really comes down to logistics. When compared to many of the other popular adult sporting activities time and money are the biggest issues. As a young adult it was weight training, running and basketball for me. The fitness center cost me $50 a month for 24hr unlimited access. In two hours a could run to the gym, play several games of pick-up ball, lift weights then run home.

 

As stated in the previous posts, even though there are ways to reduce the cost of playing golf comparatively golf is still very expensive. Let’s assume someone gifted you a set of hand me down clubs the cost can still add up to maintain a enjoyable skill level.

 

One large bucket of balls at the range twice a week = $20

One round of golf walking the local municipal course once a week = $25

One box of balls per month $20

 

Using the conservative numbers above the casual golfer would spend no less than $200 a month.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s almost equivalent to getting the ugly sister out of the house. No matter how hard you try.You can’t even give her away.Tough sell is being overly kind.Its a hobby where less than 5% of new adult potential players will show any interest in.

Keep it in the short stuff

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Not everybody is going to play golf for a wide variety of reasons. All you can do is expose people, preferably young people, to the game and some will gravitate to it.

We still have a bit of a course surplus from the first Tiger boom. It will level off if it hasn’t already and Golf will find its normal.


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Earlier in the week, stockholders at a private club in a neighboring community were called into a special business meeting to discuss an offer from a developer to purchase the property for new home construction that would eliminate the golf course.  That would be the second golf course shuttered in this particular county in the past two years.  

By all outward appearances, the developer didn't initiate the conversation, the club did.

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I think most of the challenges have already been mentioned but IMHO I think the "instant gratification theme" is key.  This game is difficult.  Even the TW's excitement then and now, and the influx of interest that brings, does not change the fact that it's a game most must spend a significant amount of time developing skills to a point they can competently play.  Also, while not terribly expensive, it still costs lots more than many other hobbies and a larger investment of time.  Lastly, I think many perceive golf country clubs as havens for stuffy, privileged folks... which is looked down upon by many.  Just my .02 cents which probably isn't worth half that.

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20 hours ago, PlaidJacket said:

IMO.. not enough young kids being introduced. That's one of the reasons I'm heavily invested in The First Tee.

All great comments.But this is by far the one thing that will grow the game.Many adults who had limited exposure in the game as youths won’t be interested in a membership.The interest in this game must start at a very early age.And be continued into the adult years.If not, than you are looking at once or twice a year golfers.Perfect scenario for public random golf outings.But a bad match for a full out buy in membership 

Keep it in the short stuff

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Golf is the cricket of individual sports. For those who do play it, the five hours doesn't represent a problem.  For many who might have played it, it does.

Nine holes of golf is stigmatized today as something less than real golf.  If golf had been established as a nine hole game to begin with, however, 2-2½ hours would seem reasonable to a lot more people. 

Also, the cost of manicuring 150 acres of golf course is staggering today.  Keep the course as natural as possible, and it will take six hours to play.

And also, 150 acres translates into a lot of expensive house lots. How can it even be economically feasible to use them for a golf course, especially in highly populated areas?  In sparsely populated ares, who's around to play? 

The above two things must add a lot to the cost of playing.

Retiring gave me more time but less money. I managed to pay my club dues because mortgages and kids' tuitions were gone,  bit it was nonetheless an extravagance for sure.  My wife would have enjoyed more trips abroad.  I fancied them less, but would have enjoyed Vegas twice a year more than once.

As somebody who did play the game for fifty years or so, I would also site changes in the game that were distasteful to me. The banishment of steel spikes nearly drove me from the game years before my health ever did. I never enjoyed the game as much without them.  The modern equipment was probably a factor more unique to me. Most people adapted to it. Many like it.  I absolutely hated it.

I loved golf, despite the things that I didn't love about it.  Maybe if I were still healthy enough to play, playing like a healthy septuagenarian would have been sad enough to make me walk away by now anyway.

I suppose that if you're young and healthy, have plenty of time and money, and like your outdoors manicured rather than scruffy and natural (as I always have), golf is still a really great game.   It's just easy to understand why fewer people seem to be attracted to it.

 

 

Edited by NiftyNiblick
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11 minutes ago, NiftyNiblick said:

I loved golf, despite the things that I didn't love about it.  Yet, I find myself missing it less and less.  Even if I were still healthy enough  to play, how well would I be able to play as a healthy septuagenarian?  I'd spend the entire round thinking about what I used to be able to do and can't do anymore.

You could consider giving back to the game. For example: volunteer at a local First Tee Chapter or other youth golf program. Lend to those learning your wisdom and advise. Show a youngster how to putt or chip. Become a mentor. There's lots of way to stay connected to the game if you want to. Swinging a club isn't everything.

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IMO, much of it is because golf is expensive and takes dedication to play at a level where its enjoyable.  Most people dont have the drive, dedication or time to practice enough to play golf well.  Most just want to never pick up a club, play a few times a year but still play well enough to where golf is enjoyable.  Thats not realistic for most, if any.

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1 hour ago, ZenGolfer said:

IMO, much of it is because golf is expensive and takes dedication to play at a level where its enjoyable.  Most people dont have the drive, dedication or time to practice enough to play golf well.  Most just want to never pick up a club, play a few times a year but still play well enough to where golf is enjoyable.  Thats not realistic for most, if any.

Disagree with this part. I know lots of bad or so so golfers that enjoy the game despite not playing well. 

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New members at a club is cost only. I have tons of friends that golf and aren’t members because of cost. Reason for not starting to golf is because it’s boring. everyone grows up playing the go go go sports and golf just seems eh. That’s exactly how I viewed it my entire life until I played it once I got older. 

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