Check out Mike Stachura's defense of the state of golf which will stir many emotions with you as it did for me. But this is not personal, it's business Fredo.
Still, it's hard not to get annoyed at the mention of the Real Sports report on golf's "nosedive," interviewing former Taylor Made CEO Mark King, who is discussing everything wrong with the sport except one mistake that happened under his watch.
Mr. King, who signed off on the idea to introduce three drivers in one year, something his parent company lamented in its quarterly report and which has since been blamed for Dick's Sporting Goods layoffs and cited as irrefutable evidence of golf's demise, was reassigned in the Adidas corporate structure. Real Sports left this out.
Reader Blue Ridge Pro laments Stachura using "data going back to 1960 to come up with a growth in number of golfers" and that he "has to go back 17 years to get a positive equipment sales stat."
Perhaps, but couldn't we also be accused too often of focusing on year-to-year figures as if golf is a stock? Shouldn't some long term perspective enter any of these discussions?
Stachura goes through many equipment numbers and then this on rounds played:
On the front lines, the news of rounds played can be viewed in two ways. Certainly, the sheer numbers of rounds are down and weather has been a large factor. This June was one of the six wettest Junes in the United States in the past 120 years. But a look inside those down numbers shows an increase in golf being played when the weather cooperates. The average rounds-per-day-open through June 2014 was up 2.7 percent compared to 2013. Twenty-one states reported rounds played were up in June.
Ultimately, golf's most serious issue is the notion that rich old guys want to force the game on young people, instead of helping them find it naturally. The golf bug needs to be caught organically, not because of an ad campaign, initiative or other method to seem cool.
From hippest Commissioner in sports.
In his 20 years at the helm of the PGA Tour, Finchem has seen the professional game through incredible growth and challenging economic times. He cautions about focusing an assessment of the game’s strength on “a pinpoint piece of data.” He talks a more positive game than the stories of last week might have you believing.
“I think we have to work harder in today’s world to get people to try the game and get into the game, and we have to do some things that we really haven’t done in the past to help with that,” he said. “Really, it comes back to the youth, reaching out to youth. You can’t expect youth to come to the game, you have to bring the game to young people. We’re dealing with it -- we’ve got to get better at it -- but I see a lot of bright spots. I’m very bullish on the future of the game both here in the United States and globally, where it’s growing quite nicely. And with golf going in the Olympics, that’s going to be accelerated.”
Not really. Top Golf is probably a lot more important to introducing youngish people to golf. Some may not like it because it's a bowling alley on steroids, but if people have fun and are intrigued, that's going to be a lot more powerful than seeing a one-minute clip of golf highlights on an Olympic telecast before they send it back to the women's Pommel horse prelims.