Daily Archives: February 21, 2008

Duffers Declining

This morning’s New York Times says “More Americans are Giving Up Golf.”

(Shudder.)

“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.

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Big Lug Tells the Truth, Hurts SILO

From Radio Iowa yesterday:

“A key legislator says the governor’s willingness to consider using local option sales taxes for teacher salaries may have killed an important bill. The bill would establish a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure projects, an extension of the 99 county local option sales taxes that exist today.

“Governor Culver met this morning with members of the state teachers union and he was asked if that local option sales tax money could be used for teacher pay. Culver said he was “open” to the idea. Representative Roger Wendt, a Democrat from Sioux City, is chairman of the House Education Committee.

“I’m not going to fight with the governor here, but they asked me the same thing and I replied: ‘No,'” Wendt says. According to Wendt, the sales tax money in question should be used on school infrastructure and none of it should go to teacher salaries.”

That’s one big reason the idea of a statewide tax will fail — you can’t trust Statehouse types to leave the money alone. They can’t resist scooping and grabbing. The building fund will turn into an salary fund in the blink of an eye.

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