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Many of us who play golf on a regular basis might not realize it but the business of golf at the present time is in a long-term recession. Whenever we go to play there is at least in most areas never a shortage of options, as there are golf deals all around. But generally the number of golfers as trended downward over the last 10 to 15 years, and it is putting pressure on a lot of golf courses as to whether they can remain financially viable.
There was a true golf crazed that began in the 1990s, and that brought on a golf course building boom. Many municipalities around the country got in on it, thinking that it would not only help their communities aesthetically but financially as well. As long as people kept coming to the courses and paying their green fees, the money kept rolling in.
It’s hard to say what exactly kicked off this popularity and golf. Perhaps it was the baby boomers hitting that sweet spot between no longer playing organized games requiring more athleticism and their sedentary senior days. Some attributed to the revolution of golf equipment at the time, and some think that it was the popularity of Tiger Woods bringing interest to the game. Whatever the reason, that was definitely the heyday.
But compared to those times, now some courses are reporting half the number of golfers that are playing now. This has caused many communities to make a decision on whether to abandon the courses and cut their losses, make changes for a new generation of the realities of golf financially, or just try to wait out the slump. But it is leading to fewer golf courses to play. In Minnesota for instance, the golf course building craze led to 147 new courses in the years between 1990 and 2009. Now that trend is reversing as more courses are closing down, which is to be expected because many are losing thousands of dollars each year to stay open.
We can generally say that the game of golf is in great shape: there are still ample courses to play, if you can keep your times to play flexible you can cash in on some really good green fee rates, and the equipment is never been better. But the business of golf is hurting, and that is mainly because people were overly optimistic 10 to 15 years ago when the craze was at its highest. There naturally going to be some weeding out of courses, but golf is never going to completely go away. We just have to remember that it’s still a business, and though we might feel frustrated when we go to the course for a round of golf and find that there’s a tournament or golf outing going on, that those are the types of events that paid a lot of the bills for a golf course.
write by Thekla