A great perspective by Brad Ziemer at Vancouver Sun Sports the golf industry crisis. Worth $14.3 billion a year in Canada alone, it is struggling with economic difficulties and changing consumer preferences.
Some experts believe golf is in decline - fewer golfers, less interest in a 5-hour sporting commitment and too challenging to be a relaxing break for the constantly connected. Ziemer quotes Mark Twain describing golf as "a good walk spoiled," but also suggests his comment that "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated " may be more appropriate.
The challenge for golf is to keep the traditions that make it attractive while adapting to make it more appealing for everyone. Maybe more player friendly nine-hole courses, and some special fun events, but please forget the death-wish fulfilling gimmicks like saucer greens and 8-inch holes. The industry simply has to accept the inevitable business cycles.
The infatuation with Tiger Woods has ended. He is still a draw for tour events and TV audiences, but declining with every year he ages. And no longer the role model for young athletes. Fans and potential golfers are now drawn to Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and other young stars. The big money on tour will also appeal to some parents and their athletic children as they assess career options in professional sport.
But the sport will never have the "everyman" appeal of soccer, basketball or baseball. It is
more exclusive, expensive and demanding - like tennis or hockey.
Meanwhile, let's enjoy the game.