Fox Sports reports that while attendance and viewership for golf is up, the number of rounds played peaked in 2000. It seems that the Tiger effect is wearing off, as people find that it’s not as easy as he makes it look.
Then there’s the fact that it’s not an easy game to get into:
“The game is difficult, expensive and requires an extensive time commitment,” said Casey Alexander, a scratch golfer who covers the golf industry for Gilford Securities in New York. “Facilities are hostile to the newcomer, and other participants are hostile to the newcomer. If you’re bombarded by hostility in your first year of playing the game, you’ll go bowling.”
Couple this with the expense, a general economic downturn over the last few years, and the time involved, and it turns out that golf loses two out of every three new players in a year or two.
I think that the PGA (the teachers and course managers) have really got to work on this one. The expense and time things are not solvable, but the hostility on the course is. Golf simply needs to be more welcoming to new players.