At lunch the other day, my golf buddies and I were discussing the future of golf. I commented that golf is more popular today than ever. One of my friends talked about the declining number of rounds as his indicator of the popularity. Let’s discuss some of the reasons for this upswing in the popularity of golf:
5 Trends That Are Positively Energizing Golf
Golf’s popularity has evolved over the past years mainly because many of golf’s visionaries have also evolved. The game is no longer just about playing 18 holes of golf. Golf’s popularity has taken a number of forms:
1. Different Venues for Playing Golf:
Playing golf has changed from a traditional 18- holes of 4-5 hours, to now groups and leagues that play 6, 9 or even 12-holes depending on the amount of time people wish to invest in a round.
I saw a new twist on Master’s week at a club this past year. The club had a 9-hole, par 3 tournament after cut line was determined for the weekend. Your 9-hole score plus the 72-hole score of a Pro you selected from the field was your final score. This kept the excitement a topic at this course till late Sunday afternoon. The course offered a nice prize to the winner of the tournament. Nice touch!
More Par 3 courses are evolving or courses are offering Par 3 tees on every hole to encourage quick rounds and a course suited to children playing golf.
Today, I played in the local qualifier for the World Series of Putting. I saw people participate who never play golf but enjoy putting---and they qualified. By the way, I also qualified. More about that in future articles!
2. Watching Golf Becomes an Event Like the Super Bowl:
The TPC Stadium course in Ponte Verde, Florida started the concept of stadium golf 35 years ago. This has evolved to the Phoenix Open where over 100,000 people attend the tournament EVERYDAY!
Signature Holes continue to become exciting holes for the golf fan across the world (whether you play is irrelevant) with the infamous 17th hole of The Players Championships to the wild and crazy 16th hole of the Phoenix Open.
The PGA tour has evolved their social media apps along with WIFI on the course so that any fan is able to know where every Pro is on the course and knows what the player is facing on his next shot. The days of judging “who did what” from the roar of the crowd are over. This engages even more fans with the sport!
3. Different Ways to Enjoy Golf:
We are seeing businesses like TOP GOLF that have evolved by incorporating the best concepts of a family sports bar with multiple forms of entertainment as well as a driving range. This is a very popular venue for people who enjoy the social aspects of golf without wanting to play - ingenious and insanely popular!
4. Ease of Training:
Training devices have evolved to the extent that a golfer can now train himself and get instant feedback via his smartphone. It is now easier to take golf lessons as well as on one’s own schedule.
5. Heroes to Emulate:
Every sport needs heroes. Rory McElroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Ariya Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Inbee Park offer viewers internationally world- class golf with personality!
Final Thoughts on the Rising Popularity of Golf
- I am not only encouraged by the above trends that are skyrocketing golf’s popularity in many different ways but also by the efforts of the LPGA and PGA to encourage new golfers. The LPGA last year introduced 62,000 young women into the game. The FIRST TEE continues to introduce young men and women to golf and the many life skills that golf will teach you.
- I also enjoy playing golf with my kids and look forward to playing with my grandchildren soon. How many sports can realistically offer that?
Over to You
- Do you have the PGA Tour app loaded on your smart phone?
- Would you play in a non-traditional event?
- Do you play golf with your kids or grandchildren?
Send me your comments……
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