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Friday
Jan172014

McCord On Baby Boomers: "We supported all these clubs, and now there's nobody to tap us on the shoulder and take over"

Lots of interesting stuff in Cameron Morfit's interview of Gary McCord for Golf Magazine talking about health issues and golf on television.

And these two questions:

What's your take on the state of golf, big picture?

Golf is in a tenuous situation with the current socioeconomic climate. I'm at the end of the baby boomers. We supported all these clubs, and now there's nobody to tap us on the shoulder and take over our memberships because the game is too expensive, takes too long, and is too hard. People can't invest so much energy into something that's not giving them much in return. So how do you fill these clubs that are being depleted? That's a problem.

Driving around the Coachella Valley this week, all I could think was, who is going to buy all of these homes and memberships when these people die? Anyway, on Tiger:

Speaking of problems, do you think Tiger is happy?

If you look at any situation where guys become superstars in any field, they all eventually end up in their own prison, their own hellhole, and they peer out through the bars. You have to give up a lot to be that good at something. Some guys have a big prison and some guys have a tiny prison. He's in a real tiny cell. You feel sorry for him. He wants to be one of the guys.

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Reader Comments (32)

"He wants to be one of the guys."

GM has said some loony things, this takes the cake. One of which guys? The ones he doesn't talk to or play with if they might win a tournament?

LOL
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenteryeah right
He's right about being too expensive Was thinking about joining a semi-private club wo/a pool for the wife and kids. Decided it would be better to keep on playing public and joining the pool club instead, which has tennis courts as well. If there was a private course that was more reasonable I would join, but the prices are crazy, at least here in the NY/NJ area
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterGus
The future of golf is either Bandon, Bethpage or Sandhills. Any model built around Clubhouses, Gyms, Real Estate, and dues being paid by a family of 4 on a 175K income is not the future.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commentervwgolfer
McCord's time is up. He's run out of BS.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
Younger people would rather play video golf than real golf. While golf has never been a mainstream sport it is its own worst enemy in growing the game. A few years back Nicklaus was asked if any of his grand kids played golf. I believe he said words to the effect- No, they are too busy... If the greatest of his generation cannot spark the fire of his own relatives to pick up the game what chance does it have?
Coupled with Palmer and other "player" architects Nicklaus is responsible for the types of courses that must be endured to "play" the modern game. This is the equivalent of Olympic gold medalists laying out all new ski slopes. Very few of the courses from this generation of designers can be played by the average player much less the beginner. The result is agronomical monuments to ego that cost to much to play and maintain, take to long and punish the less skilled- oh, and no reset button to start over...
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
''guys become superstars in any field, they all eventually end up in their own prison''

I take exception to that. I know more than one world famous musician who can go anywhere and get around and get along. The people who are ''prisoners'' have done that to themselves.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@digsouth they probably gave up a lot to get their, most don't have normal lives. But I would think the prison remark is more about the fame/scrutiny. Or at least that makes more sense.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Scrutiny is only a prison if you're hiding something. Part of the media frenzy whenever anything Tiger happens is because he gives them nothing.

I have so little sympathy or patience for those who receive the riches of fame and success yet grumble about the expected quid pro quo. No one made you sacrifice your life, you chose that life, you busted your ass for it, now shut up, smile and sign some autographs.

And name your yacht "Privacy" if that makes you feel better, but you sold your privacy (at a handsome price) the day you decided to accept millions of dollars in endorsement money off the field. Now live with it or give it back and find something else to do.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPicky Man
Retire yesterday, please. There must be a reservation out near Scottsdale for recovering golf comedians who only crack themselves up. Take Feherty with you. They might have barbering available, too.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
@picky Tiger is famous bc of his golf, your argument on the endorsements only works if nobody would care about him except for the endorsements. Even if TW had signed no endorsement contracts, he'd still be famous, and have little privacy. He chose to play golf. Now one can argue that playing golf for a living is only possible bc of fans/the public (which I'd agree with). And I guess then the question is how much access does that grant us? Access only at the golf course when they're playing golf? Or also when they are in airports? at home? who they marry? The game has changed. They play for more money, but they are scrutinized far more off the golf course.

And if you think scrutiny is only a problem if you're hiding something then you really have no clue what you're talking about. Walking outside and knowing that everyone is watching you, that no matter what you do, even if it's with your kids, you might be interrupted, photographed, chased by people in cars etc.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Sadly, the game still has an image problem. Seems to me, it's still being viewed largely as a game for retirees - an activity one can take up when unable to partake in more athletic pursuits. The simple truth is that skills need to be developed when young which, in turn, will last a lifetime. Golf is such a difficult game to learn as an adult which few master. I rather suspect many leave the game not because of the cost but because it's just too difficult.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterscots wha hae
@elf You make some valid points. I don't have to agree with you for them to be valid, for sure. I would only say in response to "How much?" that you make a personal choice how much. You always have a choice to walk away if it is too much, and if the scrutiny passes what society regards as acceptable scrutiny (and paparazzi are always getting into trouble for going too far), then you have a legitimate beef.

I haven't seen anything even resembling unacceptable scrutiny of Mr. Woods. I've seen a golf media compliant in toeing his line for years without a whisper of criticism, and let's face it, the tabloid media had lots of meat thrown to them when his private life came spilling out. The tabloid media didn't give a hoot until he gave them cause, and I don't recall any laws being broken by the media in reporting it.

Again, we have laws to safeguard the privacy we should have. But a public life is a public life. Prying questions or unfavorable articles from the media?

That's part of the deal, and you can take it or leave it. Crying about it is not going to accomplish anything.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPicky Man
Yep. Seems youve been watching so long now all that bile and ill-will just start spilling out, poisoning your soul, about his fame, about his wife, about his kids, about his boat. Nothing about his talent. Did you ever hear Tiger once complain? He hardly says much of anything.
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEnigma
And, who cares if he's "happy". Is that where we have gotten to?
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEnigma
so Gary McCord says Tiger is a prisoner.

And people comment that Tiger needs to get over it.

My Lord. (am I allowed to say that?)
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTough
"Any model built around Clubhouses, Gyms, Real Estate, and dues being paid by a family of 4 on a 175K income is not the future."

I second that.

A lot of "fine" clubs have no idea how much trouble they're really in...
01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@ DTF +1

And we have no idea how much "trouble" the game, as we knew it, is in. While the TOUR continues to live in opulence, the roots of the game are really having a difficult time. A lot of Clubs are really struggling to keep their doors open. More than most of us can imagine.

A once very proud private club in our immediate area had 500 members just ten years ago. Today they are down to 147 and still thinking they are private and trying to operate as they did a decade ago. I can reference more having the same problem, but this is just one of those on the brink of bankruptcy in our area.

In regions that are considered retirement destinations, this is a common theme. The attrition is taking these old clubs out of business. I hate to agree with McCord, but he is correct about "no one to take over".

@munihack " If the greatest of his generation cannot spark the fire of his own relatives to pick up the game what chance does it have?" Scary, isn't it?
vw - Del don't forget Tiki Bars and consulting firms.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNo Longer
NL....LMAO!

Not long ago I had lunch at a "fine" club in their "formal" upstairs dinging area... Lunch was served buffet style, and what a buffet it was! The buffet had to be 60 or 70 feet long and had a salad section, cheese/olives/cracker section, pasta section, vegetable section, entree section, separate soup station (2 selections, homemade)....deserts were to order.

This buffet looked like it could have fed 50 people?

A grand total of 5 people showed up.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I live in a Midwestern college town with several courses. Go to any of these courses(except the university course) and I would estimate 70% of players are males 50+. At the the university course its probable 50% 50+ males and 50% college age players including a large chunk of young women. However of these young players 70% are from Asian countries and will likely be leaving the US. During one round this summer all this just struck me. I stopped, looked around and thought "20 years from now most of the people I see playing will be gone". And I didn't see anybody to take over. I agree golf is dying in the us but I think it will be a growth sport in Asia.
@Geoff You said, "Driving around the Coachella Valley this week, all I could think was, who is going to buy all of these homes and memberships when these people die?" I live in an "active adult" golf community in PHX with 45 holes. There is no "membership" fee. We buy a play card. The more plays one buys, the less the cost is per round. Public play is permitted although in prime season it's difficult. There is no trail fee for the carts that most own. More importantly, only about 1/3 of the houses are golfing households. Golf course lots are just considered "open space" or "view" lots by many. The "real estate/golf membership clubs" are in trouble except for the ones that are ultra high end.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T.
@vw Future is: Bandon, Bethpage or Sandhills?

>$200 per round
Only for state residents
6 hour drive from nearest major airport?

What planet are you from? Not picking on you, don't know you, but those are all very limited play limited success models, just what is killing the game.

If Keiser's place in Wisconsin comes in at or under $125 per, that will still be high.

The future of golf is to separate it from money and selfish behaviors. As if that will happen.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBillV
It is snowing outside. My club is closed. The last time I played was in November. Nevertheless, I had to pay my monthly dues last week. Financially, a private club is rarely a good deal. Now that there are many good public courses, it is very hard to justify joining.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Ford
@Geoff I was in Palm Springs last week and couldn't help but notice the ads in the local papers for annual and seasonal memberships from many private clubs such as this one:

http://www.rancholaspalmas.com/membership

No longer is there an upfront membership/initiation fee or residency requirement.

Bermuda Dunes, formerly on The Hope rota, is now offering trial memberships:
http://bermudadunescc.org/request_membership/

I have no idea how a place like http://www.toscanacc.com/ is doing with 7 figure housing and 6 figure memberships.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T.
"@vw Future is: Bandon, Bethpage or Sandhills?

>$200 per round
Only for state residents
6 hour drive from nearest major airport?"


BillV, broadly speaking I agree with your take but don't lump Bethpage into that demo. There are 3 airports less that 40 minutes away, everyone in the world is welcome, and even at peak times only one of the courses has a rate >$100 for a non-resident (Black is $150 for a non-resident).

Bethpage represents a lot of what is right in golf...
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I am starting to play again, finally, and the semi private club I play at and practice at has a LOT of young women playing. I think golf really needs to look at opening its doors and solicit women: the are fun and they are polite about speed of play and play thrus. etc.
01.18.2014 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@ digs +1 Glad you are back at it!

We have to get more women to "Stay" in the game and engage more young people to take up golf vs. video / internet games.

Women are the largest segment of NEW golfers every year, but also the quickest to quit. We need them to stick it out, play if forward, WAY forward, add some social aspects for them to enjoy after the round..........

@ DTF re: lunch Unless the Membership underwrites the shortfall every year, this model will break the club. Doing the same old, same old they did 20 years ago and thinking it will one day change is insanity. This type of operational flaws are exactly what we are seeing with a lot of clubs being sold for 12-15 cents on the dollar. Ego comes with a HUGE price these days in the club business.
There are always a few guys at these failing private facilities who have endless cash, who are unwilling to change the failing model and somehow have the clout or the loud mouth to keep things going, right into the ground. Same guy is on the golf committee or heavens forbid is the Chairman and is single handedly sinking the ship.

@No longer and DTF, what about the tennis dome, every club has to have that, don't they?
01.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJacque Artel
Just dropped my last "national membership". I have not been there in three years and there are 2-3 ways to access the club as a non-member.

I love golf but times are changing.


Stan.
01.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Steamer
@Pro, can you give me a hint on what club that is? Is it 18 holes or 36?
01.19.2014 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
@DTF technically you are correct, but you can generally only join in on prime days as a single. I am fortunate that through a group I get a day every year that I can play there no hassles at all. It is not so easy for most, so yes there is a gulf from BB to the other two (BB is $150 as you say inching towards that $200 mark), but also a gulf to most other publics, even the other Bethpage courses (demand v. accessibility). The Red is a fine second choice ...

Front Range Colorado is a fine place for the public golfer. From Denver an hour north or south there are probably 40 nice accessible publics reasonably priced, most cities should be so lucky. That's what I'm talking about. In that same market, look how much the very nice Colorado Golf Club has had to struggle.
01.20.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBillV
"....but you can generally only join in on prime days as a single."

It's a two-time US Open course that has ~10,000,000 residents within an hour drive all of whom can access the course for $65 on weekdays and $75 on weekends -- what do you expect?

It's not "inching towards that $200 mark", it's exactly $75 on weekends and $65 on weekdays, double for non-residents ($130 weekday rate is much closer to $100 than $200).

With a little persistence even a non-resident can play the Black almost daily if they really set their mind to it....
01.20.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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