The golf industry is not reaching it’s potential. Even though golf is a multibillion dollar industry there should be more people enjoying the sport every day.
Recently the Wall Street Journal published the article, How Golf is Failing Its Beginners by Brian Costa. The article discusses the problems the golf industry is facing in attracting and retaining new golfers.
Brian highlights the huge potential the golf industry has:
- “The sport is attracting more new players in the U.S. now than at any time since the early 2000s”
- “Roughly 2.2 million Americans aged 6 and older played golf for the first time in 2015”
- “37.4 million non-golfers are at least somewhat interested in playing golf now”
But, despite the interest golf, it is not attracting many regular golfers.
- “Nearly 90% of the people who left the game in 2015 never became regular golfers”
- “The overall number of participants still fell to 24.1 million, a marginal drop from 24.7 million in 2014 and down from a peak of 30 million in 2005”
A study by the National Golf Foundation shares two factors that greatly affect retention of golfers, comfort and competence.
Does a beginning golfer feel comfortable? Are they competent enough to enjoy the game?
The average golf course is 18 holes designed with avid players in mind. There’s a driving range and a practice green and nothing in between.
“It’s akin to a ski resort without a bunny hill
or a swimming pool without a shallow end.”
If the golf industry wants to meet its potential, non-golfers interested in the sport need to be embraced.
In the article, there are suggestions for solving these problems: introducing non-golfers to the sport through structured programs like Get Golf Ready, creating new easier golf experiences like Tiger Woods designed Bluejack National course with a casual golf play area called The Playgrounds, and making golf courses easier so the game is more fun.
In the comments to the WSJ article, of which there are currently over 150, there are many more suggestions:
- More par 3 golf courses
- Don’t keep score
- Use a larger golf ball (similar to larger tennis rackets)
- More shorter golf courses (like designs from the 20s and 30s)
- More teeing options on each hole
- Light up the course for night play
- Add more beginner programs
- Different rules for beginners
- 6-hole courses
- 9-hole courses
- 10-hole courses
- 12-hole courses
- 14-hole courses
- 16-hole courses
- Non-golfers shouldn’t golf
If we had to describe the sentiment from the comments attributed to this article, we’d use frustration. Many commenters echo the article, they say they tried golf but didn’t get into it because of potential embarrassment and lack of skill. One even compared an 18-hole round to a journey through hell. Many are stressed by the pace of play: beginner golfers inevitably hold up more experienced golfers and no one wants to play a round over 5 hours; with suggestions for separate courses or only allowing new golfers to play in the afternoon.
The Solution: REALiTEE Golf
A facility where golfers can play however many holes, for however long, in whatever order, at whatever difficulty, and without having to wait around for other people to catch up. A facility that has a fun and encouraging environment that fosters love for the game.
REALiTEE Golf is the shallow end of the pool. REALiTEE Golf is the bunny hill. REALiTEE Golf is the answer to bring new golfers into the game by allowing them to feel comfortable and competent.
Join the vision and become a part of the solution.