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Why many quit or cutback on golf ?

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Running our business golf league again this year.And I’m really surprised how many past members have quit golf.Or cut back drastically on golf rounds played for the year.The reasons were a plenty.From those you know who quit or cut back what we’re the reasons you heard?


Keep it in the short stuff

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The answers with this are endless. Personally I’ve heard lack of time - the cost- how hard the game is - family first motto- bad weather - a feeling of not fitting in with others- on and on . And even heard a few tell me the game isn’t exciting enough for their tastes. Might be hard tracking. But I feel more are cutting back or quitting the game versus brand new golfers . It is what it is. Not a sport for everyone 

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Keep it in the short stuff

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Every time I’ve witnessed someone stop playing it’s because of kids old physically can’t anymore 

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When I first started playing golf I never went all in. And cutback my playing down to nill.  Golf for me never signified a true manly sport or endeavor. It portrayed more of a leisure activity for non athletic types. It just wasn’t cool enough and didn’t give me that rush I was looking for. Now 20 years later I respect golf and it’s difficulty. I don’t see it as a true athletic activity like my other likes. But the daily challenges draw me in.  


Keep it in the short stuff

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Most frequent I've hear is cost and lack of time.  Remember, any sport/hobby/activity has an ebb and flow to its popularity.  From 2003-2006ish, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing or hearing about online poker.  Now it's pretty much at niche (obscure?) status in the US (don't get me started on that).  Right now golf is not in a boom cycle.  Last I recall seeing, total rounds played annually in the US is still flat to down slightly, but things like Top Golf are keeping total "participation" numbers steady to slightly higher.  Didn't golf have a down cycle in the 80s/early 90s (pre-Tiger)?  I'd be interested to see how current participation numbers compare to pre-Tiger or just a long term average.  Regardless of the numbers, I don't get a sense that golf is very "cool" at the moment.  This doesn't stop me from playing and enjoying it though.  On top of that, the global economy is slowing and the average person just can't seem to get ahead.  These are not two trends that bode well for a sport/hobby that is known to be somewhat costly. 

The reasons are endless as another mentioned.  And I don't think there is any simple solution to reversing the trend.

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9 hours ago, TwoCoatsOfWax said:

Most frequent I've hear is cost and lack of time.  Remember, any sport/hobby/activity has an ebb and flow to its popularity.  From 2003-2006ish, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing or hearing about online poker.  Now it's pretty much at niche (obscure?) status in the US (don't get me started on that).  Right now golf is not in a boom cycle.  Last I recall seeing, total rounds played annually in the US is still flat to down slightly, but things like Top Golf are keeping total "participation" numbers steady to slightly higher.  Didn't golf have a down cycle in the 80s/early 90s (pre-Tiger)?  I'd be interested to see how current participation numbers compare to pre-Tiger or just a long term average.  Regardless of the numbers, I don't get a sense that golf is very "cool" at the moment.  This doesn't stop me from playing and enjoying it though.  On top of that, the global economy is slowing and the average person just can't seem to get ahead.  These are not two trends that bode well for a sport/hobby that is known to be somewhat costly. 

The reasons are endless as another mentioned.  And I don't think there is any simple solution to reversing the trend.

This is the first time I have ever heard someone relate "cool" to golf. Interesting. Can I ask what your thoughts are why you think this?


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No time, is what I hear a lot.

I'm glad I can tee off around 7 and be done before 10 and still have the whole day for my kids. If I was forced to play 5 hour rounds, I probably would quit too.

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Time is the biggest one for most people. Home, family and/or work responsibilities affect hobbies. Then add in Mother Nature and how much rain areas on the east coast and parts of Midwest have gotten the last year+ and those chances to golf get cut down even further.

Money plays a factor as well. I have a buddy who’s not playing much right now due to financial reasons 

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Its responsibilities for me.  I used to play 6 days a week and now its more like 2-3x a month.  I have the time and money to play frequently however with kids at home the more I am gone, the more my wife must do on her own.  Once they get a little older (and in school full time), I will start playing again more frequently. 

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Time, money and right now weather... 

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I stopped playing for 10 years when I started a business and then had kids.  No time and didn’ t want to spend the money.

A few years ago my father was playing at least 5 times a week.  Now he is down to 1 or 2 rounds a week (often only 9 holes instead of 18) at most.  Old sports injuries are catching up on him limiting both walking and swinging the club.  He bought a boat instead, easier on the body.


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I cut back at one point in time simply because I had too many hobbies and couldnt afford them all.  At one point in time, I was into snowmobiling, ATVing, motocross, hunting, fishing and motorcycling, as well as golf.

I was young, didnt make a ton of money and owned a house, so I cut out ATVing, motocross and golf.  Now, Im a bit older, make a bit more money and no longer am into motorcycles, as well as living in a place where snowmobiling, hunting and fishing arent really an option; so Im back into golf more than ever.

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Cut back on golf!?!?!  Blasphemy! 

I play more now with my 11 year old daughter than I did in my teens and 20's before I had kids.  Over the past two week, last Wednesday was the only day we didn't play and that was because we were at a Twenty One Pilots concert in Charlotte.  

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I'm trying to play more than ever if the weather cooperates. And, I'm still a club ho...so no cutbacks here.

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Kids are making it difficult along with added travel for my job.  My wife works full time as well so when we do get time off, I try to spend some time with the family. 

As others have said, once they get in school, it may make it easier and my wife and I plan for her to drop more to part time in a couple years.  Hoping to get my kids into golf so that I can have a chance to play with them and get out to the course.


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On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 11:23 PM, Har in the Hat said:

This is the first time I have ever heard someone relate "cool" to golf. Interesting. Can I ask what your thoughts are why you think this?

Yeah there's a reason the word "cool" was in quotes.  Anyway, I don't think I have a very good answer for that.  I think there are too many moving pieces.  IMO, boom times (like the Tiger Boom for golf) generally occur when several factors come together at the right moment in time to fuel that surge in popularity.  While I do think cost & time are big reasons people give up the game, I don't think you can totally blame that for lack of general popularity.  It's part of the equation but golf has always been costly and golf has always been time consuming.  Maybe its as simple as newer hobbies became the "cool" thing to do and golf fell by the wayside.  I don't really know. 

I could go on and on so I'll end on this:  I worked at a golf course for a couple of summers in the late 90s.  Saturday was always the busiest, most jam packed day.  Golf courses don't seem as crowded on Saturdays as they used to be.

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11 minutes ago, TwoCoatsOfWax said:

Yeah there's a reason the word "cool" was in quotes.  Anyway, I don't think I have a very good answer for that.  I think there are too many moving pieces.  IMO, boom times (like the Tiger Boom for golf) generally occur when several factors come together at the right moment in time to fuel that surge in popularity.  While I do think cost & time are big reasons people give up the game, I don't think you can totally blame that for lack of general popularity.  It's part of the equation but golf has always been costly and golf has always been time consuming.  Maybe its as simple as newer hobbies became the "cool" thing to do and golf fell by the wayside.  I don't really know. 

I could go on and on so I'll end on this:  I worked at a golf course for a couple of summers in the late 90s.  Saturday was always the busiest, most jam packed day.  Golf courses don't seem as crowded on Saturdays as they used to be.

My thoughts are, golf grew at unsustainable levels during the Tiger boom.  Golf courses were overbuilt.  Equipment technology advanced to unprecedented levels.  Tiger made golf "cool" and it became big business rather than the fringe business/sport it had been prior to Tiger.  That's not to say golf wasn't big business before Tiger.  It was something of a cottage industry prior to Tiger.  Equipment was rarely sold outside of on-course shops.  Tiger made it into a nearly household product complete with big-box retail outlets devoted to only golf. 

Now that Tiger is aging, golf is reverting back to a more healthy and sustainable level.  It's still a massive industry.  Just not what it was 15 years ago.

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