As we approach another Super Bowl Sunday, I find myself watching a replay of the Saturday PGA golf telecast on the Golf Channel. As in life, there are many people who base their opinions and realities upon what they hear instead of actual facts. Hearing things that agree with your personal thoughts tends to provide comfort and confidence but actual research and facts are easily available if you’re willing to have an open mind. I watch as Phil Michelson makes a double bogey on a 128 yard par 3 and it makes me feel like I’m not the worst golfer that ever played the game. I also witness Phil tossing footballs into the crowd and the PGA trying it’s best to become interactive and relevant with the fans. There are tos of rumors and wrong thinking when it comes to the modern day game of golf. As a geeky person, I find it necessary to see just how accurate my assertions are about the game that I love. One of the reasons that I formed Shark Attack Golf was to do things the right way and better than what I have witnessed. My research reveled pretty much what I had assumed but just in case you didn’t know, the following statistics will serve as solid research for the current state of the game.
Numbers of Golfers in the US- 29,000,000. Now before you get overly excited about that number being so high, please consider that the US population is around 313,000,000 which places the percentage of golfers at just over 9%. How does it feel to be a part of this small group of Americans that share a passion for the little white ball? Male golfers make up 77.5% and Female golfers make up the remaining 22.5% that play at least one eighteen hole round of golf per year. One stat that did surprise me was that 90% of golfers use the internet on a regular basis. This has been a stumbling block in some ways as it seems that mostly the younger golfers are internet savvy. Of course, I suppose internet usage doesn’t equal being active on social media. Ages 40-59 represent 46% of golfers while that number falls to 12% for ages 30-39 and a paltry 5% for people under the age of 30. Why is the number so small for young people? Is it the cost to play, the cost of equipment, the boredom factor, not considering it to be an athletic sport or other factors? I can tell you that most of the kids I talk to consider golf to be an old persons game and boring. Many of them are playing the new American pastime of soccer which seems to carry a status symbol, especially for travel ball much like baseball in previous years.
Sunday, we will tune in to watch the Super Bowl. People who don’t even know anything about football or like either team will watch in a number that averages around 53,000,000. Compare that to Golf’s Super Bowl event The Masters which pulls a viewership number around 42,000,000. Golf is perhaps in danger of becoming a dying game among the young but there are bright spots. It’s not found in the over exaggeration of the power on the PGA tour. This only leads to local golfers claiming that they average 300 yards on every drive when in reality, they average maybe 50 yards less. When the PGA tour picks and chooses a specific hole each week to record driving distances, it sets up for a serious tweaking of the numbers. The road to golf salvation might well be found in allowing golf niches. Long Drive holds the greatest alternative hope to bring younger and stronger players into the sport. The issue at this point is that the bulk of big, sponsorship monies flow to the old game and the old tour. While the PGA doesn’t like to focus on the monies paid to players, it’s clearly obvious where the big bucks are at this point. On a side note, as I watch the PGA event on television further, I’m reminded of another reasons why the old standard game gets under my skin. I’m watching as a player bombs his drive into a bush. The ball is clearly unplayable but he begins to complain to an official that there is a burrowing animal hole near his ball and because he claims it’s an issue, he gets complete and free relief? The problem is, that most weekend players would have never given their playing partners that relief for free. This is the same hole and same course where Tiger had members of the gallery move a giant boulder when it was determined to be a loose impediment a few years back. These rules only benefit the most coddled players in the world as I can promise the same treatment isn’t available at the local 2 man golf tournaments that I’ve played in. This is also why Shark Attack Golf has never hesitated to play golf our own way. As long as everyone plays by the same rules or under the same conditions, there should be no problems. Getting back to my Long Drive thoughts, there’s no faking it when you tee it up with a long driver. 300 yards might be a goal for some but for these guys, it’s a horrible tee shot. Hopefully, the monetary rewards will flow to the true power guys in golf eventually because they are deserving athletes. There might also be room for other niches in golf. Why not an accuracy challenge with drivers or other clubs or a putting challenge that isn’t based in putt putt? I just think there’s room for other options in this great game and that may be the only way for golf to remain relevant in future years. Television money and popularity with the masses may work well for horribly written pop music but might not always mean the best for golf.
Shark Attack Golf