This morning’s New York Times says “More Americans are Giving Up Golf.”
“The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
“More troubling to golf boosters, the number of people who play 25 times a year or more fell to 4.6 million in 2005 from 6.9 million in 2000, a loss of about a third.
The industry now counts its core players as those who golf eight or more times a year. That number, too, has fallen, but more slowly: to 15 million in 2006 from 17.7 million in 2000, according to the National Golf Foundation.”
These trends are something to think about as Cedar Rapids wrestles with how to pay for golf course improvements. Any plan that asks taxpayers to pay for upgrades could end up in a deep bunker as our thirst for golf fades.
And it’s a Catch-22. Without more dollars, courses won’t be able to offer the kind of amenities that would attract new golfers. The Times story argues its about time, or the lack of it for American men.
“Years ago, men thought nothing of spending the whole day playing golf — maybe Saturday and Sunday both,” said Mr. Rocchio, the public relations consultant, who is also the New York regional director of the National Golf Course Owners Association. “Today, he is driving his kids to their soccer games. Maybe he’s playing a round early in the morning. But he has to get back home in time for lunch.”
Mr. Hurney, the real estate developer, chimed in, “Which is why if we don’t repackage our facilities to a more family orientation, we’re dead.”
Troubling, to be sure. Much is at stake here, gentlemen.
This country was made great by men who could get away from their families for a few hours of guy time. Would Edison have invented the light bulb under these conditions? He would have been chasing kids around Chuck E. Cheese’s, and we would all be sitting in the dark, eating really bad pizza.
Imagine our history.
“Honey, Lewis and Clark asked me if I can help them explore the Louisiana Purchase and expand human knowledge, is that OK?”
“No way, I’ve got a spa weekend planned, buster.”
Its high time we grab our clubs and declare independence. As soon as the snow melts.