What Is Wrong with the Business of Golf? Don’t Blame Tiger Woods for This One!
Don’t believe me that golf is in the tank? Want proof to chew on while you are practicing your back swing!
Early this month sporting goods giant Adidas Group said it planned to divest its TaylorMade unit, one of the largest makers of golf clubs, to focus on its stronger shoe and apparel lines. Um, can anyone say “jumping ship”?
The U.S. golf equipment market last year totaled $2.55 billion, a 3% drop from $2.62 billion three years earlier, according to the research firm Golf Datatech. Why is the business of golf doing a nose dive? OK, so Tiger Wood is DOA. Arnie is way too old to carry the mantle and Jack is aging as well. You have young titans like Jordan Spieth, Adam Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McElroy and many others! So what is wrong with golf?
I asked a few of my friends who play, this very question. Here is what they can back with:
* 4-5 hours to play a round of golf is almost impossible on a weekday. On a weekend when my wife and young kids are finally getting to spend time with me is IMPOSSIBLE!
* I just never have a chance to watch golf on TV so I don’t even know who is playing well or who to cheer for.
* There are too many PGA events to pay attention to. I only care about the majors.
* Women’s golf is DEAD. So I can’t even get my wife interested and involved.
* As I age up, I am trying to be more active so I am playing tennis not golf these days.
* Greens fees are just getting ridiculous.
* Finding a foursome is almost impossible!
* The cost of new clubs is insane!
Some of these reasons above really underlie the issues golf has as a sport. Additionally, access to public courses is challenging and the lack of minorities in the sport is a glaring issue. USGA, the governing body is trying several initiatives including a Play9 strategy to consider going out and playing the front or back 9 holes a true round of golf. Doesn’t that sorta seem like going to a bar and only having 1 drink. What’s the point?
What I think is golf’s biggest problem, is it’s image! The sport basically ran John Daly, it’s biggest personality out of the game. Yeah, he smoked and drank on the golf course. Who actually gives a shit? Golf will forever be the milky white underbelly of participatory sports. I started at 16 years old at a muni with my buddies and a cooler of chilled Buds! Give me that experience over the Masters any day of the week.
I don’t like sports where old white men in bad pleated shorts hold up signs that say “QUIET”. Screw that. I paid my dues, I got on the course. Are you going to tell NASCAR fans to shhhush? No way. Should baseball players demand silence when they are at bat? Hell no! Should I tell everyone at the Jets game that they need to tone it down because Tom Brady is out there trying to give his team the snap count? Are you EFN crazy? So, you see in the end golf is fighting a battle of realities. Ours and theirs. Guess who is going to win? I just may sell my clubs at the next community garage sale. Pick up a new racquet and some workout clothes instead!