When most of us imagine the typical golfer, we probably default to old men, rich people, and businesspeople looking for a creative place to hold meetings. Compared to other sports, golf appears to have a much less diverse body of players and fans, with a much greater barrier to entry. Anyone can play basketball on the courts at a local park or school, but not everyone has the money to spend at a country club golf course. This can give off the impression that golf is becoming increasingly exclusive and, subsequently, irrelevant. But is golf a dying sport, or is it simply a misconception based on stereotypes?
The fact of the matter is the golf industry is alive and well. There have been marked increases in rounds played and the use of golf facilities, particularly since the start of the pandemic. Prior to 2020 there were some indications from sports retailers and golf courses that interest in the game was waning. But despite the postponement of the PGA tour in March 2020, 6.2 million golfers have picked up or rejoined the sport in 2020. So, what inspires people to play golf? Is it the potential of tournament winnings, the glamour of famous golfers, or simply a desire for something to do? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people may or may not start playing golf.
Playing golf comes with its fair share of frustrations and joys, just like any sport. One day you can have the best round you’ve ever played, and the next you can’t even make par. And, unlike other popular sports, there is no one on your team but yourself. That means no one else to blame when you play a bad round, no one to interfere with your focus, nothing but you and the ball on the green. Sometimes the frustration becomes too much for players and they decide to give up altogether. But others enjoy the intellectual and physical challenges that golf poses.
In terms of what motivates increases in golf playing, TV ratings are a main factor. Celebrity golfers such as Tiger Woods have inspired many people to pick up golf who wouldn’t otherwise. Surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had the same effect. Not only is golf a perfect social distancing sport, but with quarantine restrictions many people had newfound time on their hands to watch and play golf.
Golf has also risen in popularity among families. Thanks to programs like PGA Junior League Golf, Drive, Chip and Putt and PGA Junior Golf Camps, more youth and families are playing golf than ever before. Golf is a great sport for kids of all ages, and the benefits extend beyond being physically active outdoors. Kids develop social and emotional skills through golf etiquette, make life-long friendships with peers who love the sport, and learn self-control and math skills as they work with numbers on the green.
Still wondering “is golf a dying sport”? For the time being, the answer is no; golf is thriving and so are the people who play it. While sports, like fashion, come in and out of style, golf has longevity as the present rise in popularity shows. If you have hopes of keeping it alive, take a trip down to Calabasas Country Club, look into joining, and play a few rounds. Our membership options are varied and accessible, opening up the world of golf to new players. At Calabasas Country Club, we value keeping golf alive as much as you do.