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Shrink the Game.


Shankster
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The National Golf Foundation keeps the stats. 

Fact:

There was a loss of 20 million rounds of golf at the start of COVID with courses shutting down in certain areas.

By years end there were 502 million recorded.

This was 61 million more than 2019 or a 14% increase.

However the majority of the rounds were not from new golfers but rather core golfers.

Public courses saw an increase in play by 12%, Private saw an increase of 20%

In the US 169 golf courses closed and 18 new ones opened. (There might have been more than 18 but this is what I quickly found)

 

Personally I have no problems in my area playing golf. Tee sheets are not full. You can still walk up and play public courses. The general unavailability of tee times is specific to locations and populations around that area. But the facts are the facts, more rounds were played in 2020 on less courses. So yes there were less tee times available.  

 

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12 minutes ago, tommc23 said:

Alan you and I are on the same page on pace of place I want my round done in about 3 hours.

My dad and I can do 3 hour rounds.  He’s 60 still hits bombs.  He’s a methodical player… so some would call him slow.  But if he can do a 3 hour round… anyone can.

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3 hours ago, Shankster said:

My dad and I can do 3 hour rounds.  He’s 60 still hits bombs.  He’s a methodical player… so some would call him slow.  But if he can do a 3 hour round… anyone can.

I'm in my 60's and play in two hours with a cart and 2 hours and 10 minutes walking. I want to shoot myself if it takes 4 to 5 hours. 

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@Shankster dude…. I got what you were getting at. I didnt read that the way a few did. Im not worked up. The rapid surge of new or returning golfers overwhelmed a lot of places. Im in MN. We have a ridiculous amount of courses here.  When covid hit, finding tee times inside of 4 days was very hard to do unless you were a single, willing to drive an hour or more, or wanted to play twilight, and that was even hard to do. Its slowed up a little, but its still tough. A lot of courses have cut down to 7min tee times (from 10) with full tee sheets of newbs and “Claw Braws”. This has led to course Marshall's being rude and slow play. Its not everywhere but its common. I personally dont mind a 4 hour round and will frequently play 36 if the first was 3 or so. I enjoy being at the course and playing all day when time allows. I love to see new people and kids getting into it and golf growing, AT A PACE THAT IT CAN HANDLE.

 

and before anyone says it, we are ALWAYS right behind the group in front lol. We arent the ones holding up POP.

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Another thought I had, I play as a single most every time.  So I picked the times when no one was there because I know how much of a pain it is to let someone play through.  Not many courses I’ve ever played allow a single to make a tee time, so there’s that.

Just doing my part to make it more enjoyable for everyone. Trying to go at the dead time of day.

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I had another thought tonight. Golf has been my way to decompress since before covid. But now, in these trying times, golf has been a huge key to me keeping my sanity. If full tee times all over the country means that there are that many people keeping their heads right, than bring it on. Lets fill these courses up!!!!! Even if it gets frustrating once in a while. 

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@Tyler86 you mentioned 7 minute tee times.

4 dudes, 4 balls off in the junk.  “3” minutes looking for each, more like 5. You are looking at 12 minutes just for the drive.  Say one guy hits the fairway or can find it.  Now you are 9 minutes.  Say that two of them hit the fairway, and ply ready golf… 6, but the other two are still on a search and rescue mission… meanwhile the guys back on the tee are waiting to hit at their 7 minute window…

I see it every time I go out. Multiple times.  Then they still have to finish the hole. You’re really looking at 15+ Minutes at least per hole sometimes.  I waited on a tee box earlier this summer for 20 minutes on the 8th hole before I could tee off.

Busy times I think should be closer to the 12-13 minute apart tee times.  Get some earth under them before the next group puts balls in the air. But I’m no golf expert nor work in the business.  Just a consumer making an observation.

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I typically dont see to much delay on courses with 10 min tee times. Even with full tee sheets, foursomes seem to finish under 4 hours. But the 7 min tee times are almost always 4:30 or worse. Just an observation that i see. 

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I have only a small group of golfing buds, just enough to make a 4-some every weekend if someone sits out.  But most of my extended friend group are non-golfers.  We're all in our mid-to-late 30's and I would say the general feeling about picking up golf as a hobby are that it is "too expensive", "too dificult", and "takes too long".  These guys have young toddlers and find it hard to leave for 4-5hrs, or even take the time to practice.

I'm ALL for growing the game.  Golf was an elitist sport for generations before already.  By saying "Shrink the Game" carries a non-inclusive sentiment that already shrouded it for too long.  More with "Educate the Game", I definitely feel that new/struggling golfers should know their "lane" and stay off the longer, difficult courses and stick to the Par-3's or 9-holes.

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On 9/10/2021 at 12:49 PM, Shankster said:

It isn’t that want to discourage anyone from taking up this great game, because that is not what I intended to come across as saying, but it sounded like it. I love this sport, but I also like to play it as fast as I can within reason.  I’m a ready golfer, and any sort delay on the course throws off my rhythm. Anything longer than 3 hours is way to dang long.  Less than 2:30 for 18 is my goal, which I was doing pretty much all summer.  Get above that and my interest level drops to nothing. (Yes, a new problem).

This isn’t just for golf, how many of you like showing up for your doctors appointment on time or early only to be seen a hour later than you were supposed to be? Time is something that you can’t get back.  Or sit around and wait for your cable company to show up between 8-5? 

My “no room” for new golfers is based on the fact that equipment makers have backlogs as I’ve read on here, and elsewhere. By room I meant it cannot handle the inundation of new players. Not that I don’t want new people to take up the game. Yea, covid played a huge part in this lack of clubs, gloves, etc… so that is what I meant there. No room as in where do you get the equipment needed, and find a tee time?

Moving along, where I’m at there are 3 courses that are within driving distance 35 minutes for me is the cap. The base course where I play 100% of the time.  A nice course I’ve yet to play, and one that looks like it needs a remodel.  There is a shortage of golf courses here.

Dicks Sporting Goods is out of ProV1’s, the pro shop only has a few TM, Cally, and Tour Softs… but 100000 pinnacles. And sparse on the V1x…  it sure why.

You can all throw sticks at me all you want, and I probably served it.  (Today at least)(and probably many times before)…

Stay Classy ~

Mate, in reading through the thread, you seem to make the anchor point yourself and your convenience, even when talking about throwing sticks and staying classy. So that could be a critical block in communication. Others are talking about overall trends or the game as a whole, whereas you're still trying to narrow the focus to how you've been affected. 

Point 1 (Round Times): Saying anything longer than 3 hours is too long and that even a short delay throws off your rhythm is already asking for trouble. Just using simple math, you're saying anything over 10 minutes per hole is too long. Most local courses I've looked into (and in Salt Lake, there's a lot) have about 12-14 minutes per hole. Thanksgiving Point, which is one of the nicer courses in the valley, sets pace of play to be 4 and a half hours for 18 holes. So your view of fast is up to an hour and a half faster than the courses themselves could be requiring. And again, get about 2.5 to 3 hours and YOUR interest level drops. That's not on the people who are following proper pace of play, still ending an hour fast at 3.5 hours, but are half an hour to an hour slower than you'd like.

Point 2 (Equipment shortages): A lot of newbies, youtubers, MGS members, etc have gone on and on about finding older gear that is on the market now. Enough equipment is there. The issues are with regard to NEW equipment. Most new golfers I know who have taken up the game of golf went to Goodwill or a thrift store to get some cheap clubs while they learn. Or, like my wife, they were given a set from friends. There is more than plenty of room if you're willing to bend a little or get creative. 

Point 3 (Courses): Again, the focus is on courses within your driving cap of 35 minutes. So the caveat and basis is about what is convenient to you. Which is fine, but that doesn't mean there's no room in golf for others. Like you, I don't like driving more than a half hour, but I've done so for openings, events and to golf with family at their home courses. It's not terrible. 

Point 4 (Golf balls): Again, the focus being on the shortage of golf balls you prefer. If they don't have ProV1s that day, try the other golf balls that are available. Try ordering online, whether that be new ones on amazon or the pga superstore, or reused/refurbished ones from  lostgolfballs.com. The costs are up due to COVID (as they are with every resource), but there are still ways to get what you want.

 

Just trying to say take a step back and to not look at it from a matter of your personal convenience. While those definitely affect you, that doesn't necessarily equate to the effect on the game as a whole. 

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Personal convenience and the overall trends of the game will likely not overlap, but despite that,

while non-parallel, both are important considerations to the player.

 

I'm not in a hurry when I play with my older friends on a weekday morning.

I've got all day, and the round takes as long as it takes.

This suits my convenience, but I perfectly understand that it couldn't possibly fly as an overall trend of the game.

 

 

 

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On 9/9/2021 at 7:59 PM, DiscipleofPenick said:

I think what's going on right now is still being driven by Covid. I'm not seeing more golfers, just more bodies on the course. Can't go to a bar? Skittish about being inside with friends? Well, it'll cost us a little more, but we can drink here! I think I got my dad's clubs somewhere, Kirklands are cheap, let's go pound some claws brah.  It's that crowd. I think a lot of these bodies will cycle back to their usual routine next year, fingers crossed were finally through this.

+1.  Golf was one of the few (perhaps the only?) sport that seemed to remain open during the worst of the pandemic.  I think you're right that this spike will subside once the little microscopic ball with the weird spikey things all over it goes off into the flaming annals of hell... and even that is probably too good a ending.

 

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On 9/11/2021 at 5:55 AM, Shankster said:

@Tyler86 you mentioned 7 minute tee times.

4 dudes, 4 balls off in the junk.  “3” minutes looking for each, more like 5. You are looking at 12 minutes just for the drive.  Say one guy hits the fairway or can find it.  Now you are 9 minutes.  Say that two of them hit the fairway, and ply ready golf… 6, but the other two are still on a search and rescue mission… meanwhile the guys back on the tee are waiting to hit at their 7 minute window…

I see it every time I go out. Multiple times.  Then they still have to finish the hole. You’re really looking at 15+ Minutes at least per hole sometimes.  I waited on a tee box earlier this summer for 20 minutes on the 8th hole before I could tee off.

Busy times I think should be closer to the 12-13 minute apart tee times.  Get some earth under them before the next group puts balls in the air. But I’m no golf expert nor work in the business.  Just a consumer making an observation.

In Montana, many carry firearms, slow play is rarely an issue.  Absolutely no idea if there is a connection between these facts, just laying that out there 🙂.

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6 hours ago, BostonSal said:

I'm not in a hurry when I play with my older friends on a weekday morning.

I've got all day, and the round takes as long as it takes.

This suits my convenience, but I perfectly understand that it couldn't possibly fly as an overall trend of the game.

 

This brings up an interesting point. Many who were able to work from home during the past year found some time to hit the links during the course of their work day. These are also the same people that are trying to get back to their home office to get more work done, make it back for a conference call, or teams meeting. So when they run into groups not in a rush thats when I could see problems arising. 

The normal mens group of retired guys is out for a leisurely round like they normally do and are not in a rush. The guys on a mission to get back to work get pissed because they can't get done in 3 hours. So in essence the weekday rounds are now similar to Saturday rounds. Partially due to increased volume. 

 I see this on my course as well and it's private. We have several groups that go off the same time and take up a few start times all retired guys that play 3 to 4 times a week and its their day to play and take as long as they want and do not play ready golf. But they always had the course to themselves for the most part. Now they have company with a different agenda. So with them following each other around you can't play through. The only option is to skip holes and come back. You can't do that on most courses. 

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On 9/10/2021 at 8:28 AM, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Never had cart fees before. I'm not complaining about the new cart fees it's only $6.00. It's more the way it was introduced. Blame the pandemic which is justified then when you allow two to a cart again you still keep it n place. Plus they raised guest fees by $5.00 because more people were coming out to play with members. So in my opinion it is taking advantage of a pandemic to increase your profits. 

I'm on a mountain type course walking is difficult. Every hole has elevation changes and I mean every hole. You can walk it and I have done it but I prefer not to. An old back injury prevents me from carrying. I use a three wheel on occasion but pushing or dragging it up the hills is rough. 

$6!!!!!!! Dang! Cart price around us is $20-$28. 

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On 9/10/2021 at 9:40 AM, Shankster said:

Yes.  I guess everyone likes parking lots and lack of equipment.  That’s fine.  
 

Have you seen the uptick in ridiculous Instagram accounts of the bunker jumping, and generally acting like a Jack wagon on the course…

I can do without all of that, and this “boom”… 

Yes, I can't stand these golf Bro's that have no respect for the courses and go for shock & awe just to grow their InstaTok followers. I'm really starting to detest the lame golf memes everywhere I look too. But, I'm old, so.

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I've seen it both ways, the seasoned golfer and the new golfer, both taking their leisurely time into a 5 hour round. I even had the seasoned golfer take 40 minutes for the last 2 holes with nothing but rain clouds surrounds us. In a way I don't love having to wait for tee times or booking constantly 2 weeks in advance but if it keeps the courses in good financial shape where they are able to make some capital improvements, it's good for everyone. The divots and replacing pitch marks is a problem throughout, not just the new golfer. At the same time it takes a few words and maybe some teaching to show these newbies how to fix divots and ball marks on the green. It was a few years back that someone kindly showed me how to fix these same divots and marks when I started playing golf 2 years ago. I know everyone won't take instruction as kindly... I think about it as my good deed for the day lol

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13 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

This brings up an interesting point. Many who were able to work from home during the past year found some time to hit the links during the course of their work day. These are also the same people that are trying to get back to their home office to get more work done, make it back for a conference call, or teams meeting. So when they run into groups not in a rush thats when I could see problems arising. 

The normal mens group of retired guys is out for a leisurely round like they normally do and are not in a rush. The guys on a mission to get back to work get pissed because they can't get done in 3 hours. So in essence the weekday rounds are now similar to Saturday rounds. Partially due to increased volume. 

 I see this on my course as well and it's private. We have several groups that go off the same time and take up a few start times all retired guys that play 3 to 4 times a week and its their day to play and take as long as they want and do not play ready golf. But they always had the course to themselves for the most part. Now they have company with a different agenda. So with them following each other around you can't play through. The only option is to skip holes and come back. You can't do that on most courses. 

Seniors play in order rather than play "ready golf" to have eight eyes on a shot, Tom.

Looking for balls in the middle of the fairway or elsewhere because your old eyes didn't see them land 

doesn't do anything to speed up the game either.

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4 hours ago, Headhammer said:

$6!!!!!!! Dang! Cart price around us is $20-$28. 

The $6.00 is my private course. Cart fees were included in your membership in the past. Typically golf is inexpensive in my area if you walk. A local public course near me is $16.00 to walk for 18 holes and $28.00 with a cart. A good majority of golfers don't walk the local courses due to elevation changes. 

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