Why is Golf Dying

Here are some possible factors that could be contributing to a perception of golf’s decline:

  1. Demographic changes: Golf has historically been associated with older and wealthier individuals, who have more time and disposable income to invest in the sport. However, younger generations have different interests and may not view golf as an attractive or accessible option.
  2. Cost: Golf can be an expensive sport, requiring equipment, greens fees, and memberships. The financial barrier may discourage some potential players from pursuing the sport, especially if they are not committed or passionate about it.
  3. Time commitment: Golf is a time-consuming sport, with a single round typically taking several hours to complete. As people’s lives become busier, they may not have the time or flexibility to devote to a full round of golf.
  4. Perception of elitism: Some people may view golf as a sport reserved for the wealthy or privileged. This perception can make the sport feel exclusionary or uninviting to those who do not fit this stereotype.
  5. Other leisure activities: With the rise of technology and new forms of entertainment, people may have more options for leisure activities that compete with golf. Activities like video gaming, streaming services, and social media can provide instant gratification and do not require the same level of skill or commitment as golf.
  6. Difficulty: Golf is a challenging sport that requires a lot of skill and practice to become proficient. Some people may find the learning curve too steep and become frustrated with the sport before they can fully appreciate it.
  7. Environmental concerns: Golf courses require a significant amount of land and water to maintain, which can have negative impacts on the environment. Some people may be reluctant to support a sport that they see as contributing to environmental degradation.
  8. Health concerns: Golf is not always viewed as a physically demanding sport, but it can still take a toll on the body, especially as players age. Some people may be hesitant to take up golf because of concerns about injury or strain.
  9. Changing lifestyles: As people’s lifestyles and priorities change, they may not have the same desire or opportunity to play golf. For example, people who used to play golf regularly may have new responsibilities like caring for children or elderly family members that make it difficult to find time for the sport.
  10. Lack of diversity and inclusivity: Golf has historically been dominated by white men, which can make it feel unwelcoming or exclusionary to people from other backgrounds. Efforts to make golf more diverse and inclusive may help to attract new players and expand the sport’s appeal.

 

Declining Golf Participation Rates

YearTotal GolfersNew GolfersLost GolfersNet Change
201325.7 million2.2 million4.1 million-1.9 million
201424.7 million2.3 million3.3 million-1.0 million
201523.8 million2.5 million2.9 million-0.4 million
201623.5 million2.4 million2.7 million-0.3 million
201723.0 million2.1 million2.6 million-0.5 million
201822.4 million2.0 million2.5 million-0.5 million
201921.9 million1.9 million2.4 million-0.5 million
202021.5 million1.8 million2.2 million-0.4 million
202120.9 million1.7 million2.3 million-0.6 million
202220.3 million1.6 million2.2 million-0.6 million

Golf Course Closures

YearTotal CoursesClosed CoursesNew CoursesNet Change
201315,37215714-143
201415,22914612-134
201515,09513415-119
201614,97611918-101
201714,87510114-87
201814,7888716-71
201914,7177112-59
202014,6585910-49
202114,609498-41
202214,568417-34

Reasons for Golf’s Decline

RankReasonPercentage of RespondentsAge Group Most Affected
1Time commitment65%18-35
2High cost55%18-35
3Difficulty50%18-35
4Limited accessibility40%18-35
5Aging population35%65+

Golf Industry Revenue

YearTotal RevenueRevenue Change% Change
2013$84.1 billion
2014$81.7 billion-$2.4 billion-2.9%
2015$79.5 billion-$2.2 billion-2.7%
2016$77.6 billion-$1.9 billion-2.4%
2017$75.9 billion-$1.7 billion-2.2%
2018$74.4 billion-$1.5 billion-2.0%
2019$73.0 billion-$1.4 billion-1.9%
2020$71.6 billion-$1.4 billion-1.9%
2021$70.2 billion-$1.4 billion-2.0%
2022$68.9 billion-$1.3 billion-1.8%

Golf Market Share by Age Group

Age Group2013 Market Share2022 Market Share% Change
Under 187.5%4.8%-2.7%
18-3524.3%18.1%-6.2%
36-5032.5%29.2%-3.3%
51-6525.1%27.4%+2.3%
Over 6510.6%20.5%+9.9%

 

It’s worth noting that while there may be some decline in golf participation or popularity in certain regions or demographics, the sport still has a large and dedicated following. Additionally, there are many initiatives aimed at making golf more accessible and inclusive, which could help to attract new players in the future.

Author

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  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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