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« TigeRory Elaborate On Their Bond In Another Joint Interview | Main | Changing Rio's Environmental Laws For Golf »

"There might be some deeper lessons for golf from the 2012 elections than simply who won the White House and Capitol Hill."

Reading the player reaction to the elections prompted Bradley Klein to ask the golf community to have a more open mind moving forward as the sport faces huge question marks in the future.

It’s well known that golf is in some version of gradual decline demographically during the past decade, with the round count generally down, fewer golfers claiming their avidity for the game, and retention of newcomers to the game an ongoing concern. Recent evidence suggests something of a rebound in the round count, but the private-club market is especially vulnerable, and with course closings dramatically outpacing course openings, there’s every reason for the industry to address issues of belt tightening and operational efficiency, along with recruitment of new players and retention of existing ones.

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Reader Comments (14)

In my opinion, golf participation/health follows the financial well being of the country as a whole...and this country is a long way from financial well being.

So how did this election help move us closer to financial strength?
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Sullivan
Simple. Our experiment in democracy survived, making for a reasonably secure market.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
And in some countries, golf is not just a rich man's game. Get past country clubs -- you might get a real golf community, slightly more reflective of your whole demographic, and not just the Repubs and the rabid right-wingers. (I do note the difference).
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
If there's excess supply for an extended period of time the explanation is extremely simple...

...the price is too high. The solution --> cut prices.

This is especially true in the private country club market.

My uncle is a member of a nice club that's been around since the early 20's. For the first time in decades they are below the cap on resident members to the tune of about 8-12% depending on how you count. The solution arrived at by the board is to introduce a "financing plan" for the initiation fee combined with a spending spree on "amenities" not related to the golf course (marble showers, bigger/fancier pool facility, etc...). The "financing plan" (5 installments) is non-recourse, meaning the provisional member can walk away at any time and not owe the balance of the installments. Even with this plan, not only are the membership rolls not filling up, they continue to trickle lower....albeit at a slower pace.

This club has a lot of competition in town and there's an arms race ongoing on the "amenities" side.

If I were running the place I'd slash the cost of initiation (no payment plan, all-or-none), refuse to participate in the arms races, take a machete to costs with a goal of a *dues reduction*, etc... I'd want to be the first mover in the market and fill my membership rolls up before everyone else has to do the same thing...

....because they are all gonna do it boys, just a matter of when.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Oh the confusion among voters. Folks, the USA is not a demoracy and never was. It was founded as a Constitutional REPUBLIC. BIG difference.

Democracy = 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner (eg: Mob rule: 50.1% can dictate to the other 49.9%)

Republic = Same as above except the sheep is allowed to carry a gun for protection...if he so wishes. (eg: Individual rights are retained...ahh bliss)

As for the thread topic...what DTF said! In this shriveling golf market clubs are going to have to decide what/where they spend their money on more carefully. IMO...wasting money on fancy showers and clubhouse bobbles won't retain golfers/members if the course isn't up to snuff. I say forget fancy clubhouse palaces and focus on a lean, mean, efficient outdoor operations/maintenance plan and hope the real golfers come, stay, and spend some of their hard earned money where the course is the #1 priority.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
DTF describes what is going on at courses all over the country. "Consultants have convinced GM's and Board members, who want to leave their mark on the club, that it is OK to go deep in debt to build Tiki bars and flashy fitness facilities to be "competitive" in the club market. The consultants have no skin in the game and get paid whether membership increases or declines. Board members are suckers for a sales pitch.

I could go on and on, but the debt load strategy is very risky.......
Debt load is risky whether its for golf courses and fancy clubs, a family's mortgage, or the country's increased debt under both parties. We've seen the bubble pop, and it won't get better until real changes and cuts are made. The game of golf will be hard to grow when people struggle to find work or when their dollar buys far less. Dems think they won something with the election, but they'll find out that they are burying themselves.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
''...because they are all gonna do it boys, just a matter of when.''

DTF on Country Clubs, and Michael Bay on ~!~!~ARMAGEDDON~!~!~

pretty much the same thing
11.9.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Zinger and Charlie here wail about the costs of 'big government," but what was the Iraq War? An unnecessary trillion-dollar venture paid for with.... a tax cut. Big surprise that the economy tanked. It was not hard to see that Romney offered more of the same stupidity. I do believe voters could see he was lying when he went around decrying some fictional "apology tour" of Obama's, and then went on his own belligerence tour, insulting foreign leaders' intelligence and letting us all know that an invasion of Iran was on the docket. All to be paid for with funds borrowed from.... well, let's see. Not China, certainly, because Romney was vowing to go after them, too.

For these reasons and others, The Economist magazine (no liberal house organ, to be sure) shied away from the wreckless Romney and endorsed the other guy.

I applaud Klein for looking at the big picture. As he points out, the biggest picture of all, of course, is the weather hammering our globe. Neither side, alas, is taking any serious steps. But we know which side has the most vocal deniers of man's effect on the weather.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHod
From my readings...not too much recently, The Economist is fairly well left wing. No surprise if they endorsed Obama.

The impressive thing is how many people view Romney as wreckless. Refusing to say we'll not go to war under any circumstances seems to have become the new "extreme right" regarding worldwide dictators and terrorist groups. Can't wait to see how that plays out.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Sullivan
Complete, utter, evidence-free bullshit from Bradley Klein on "climate change":

"Finally, there’s the issue of climate change. The “October surprise” this time was a massive storm, Sandy, which not only devastated East Coast communities but threw the Romney campaign into crisis by displacing its candidate from the airwaves and showing that real bipartisanship (between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Obama) was at least momentarily possible.

"That storm was not an isolated event. Ask most golf course superintendents these days and they will tell you they are dealing with more intense weather extremes – whether it’s massive rain events of 3-4 inches or sustained drought – often in the same area. The result is an overloading of the weather environment that golf courses have to deal with – more demands upon drainage, more need for drought-resistant turf, greater strains on water availability. There’s no need for a consensus upon the dynamics of causes or even the solutions to climate change for the golf industry to take seriously the increased natural stressors that confront golf courses."

You can very easily make a case for browner, firmer, faster golf courses; that is a moderate, golf-cenrtric view on which Geoff Shackelford, Brad Klein and I might all easily agree. But for Dr. Klein (Ph.D., political science) to bring "climate change" into it -- and particularly this way that he has brought climate change into a golf story -- is a bad joke.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
"The Economist is fairly well left wing"

Uhm, no, it is the most famous and respected right wing publication in the world.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNative speaker
Not, I suspect, if your bible -- on climate change, no less -- is the National Review!
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Ghillie, I would have started from the premise that Golfweek wasn't exactly the bible on climate change, either, and that whatever Brad Klein knew about climate change was whatever he happened to read in... what DOES Brad Klien read?

So I figured that as long as Brad Klein was offering up trashtalk to this general audience, I could do the same.

The moment that Brad Klein wants to turn to a serious climatological source to find a link between Sandy and global warming (Is that an okay term, "global warming"? Or have facts outpaced that one, too?), I'll dig up a better bible for you.

I didn't bring Sandy and climate change into this. Brad Klien did. If you have issues with peer-reviewed research sources, you might wish to start with him.
11.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

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