By Travis Stahl
In case you didn't know Bubba Watson won the Masters last weekend. Big fans of golf already knew that because they watched the tournament and witnessed Watson become one of the true stars of the game. Golf hasn't had too many new stars arrive on the scene in a long time and from what I heard about the concern for the future of golf players like Watson could become more difficult to find. Fewer and fewer people in America are playing golf every year, especially kids, which doesn't bode well for the future quality of the game.
The number of people in America playing golf has been in steady decline since 2006. There are probably several factors why adults aren't playing golf as much. Some people don't have the extra money it costs to play on a nice course or time required to spend three or four hours at a time playing the game. Golf isn't cheap. If you are playing on an average course and you pay for a cart you're looking at between around $30 to $40. That's a lot of money to pay every week for something like that.
Because fewer adults are playing golf that trickles down to the kids. If parents aren't getting their children involved in the game than who is going to? Probably nobody. You don't see too many kids riding around town on their bikes with their clubs strung across their shoulder looking for other kids to go join them on the course. For kids to play golf somebody has to take them to the course and pay for them to play. Heading to the park with friends to play basketball, football or baseball is free.
Some cities across the country, like Fort Wayne for example, have a summer day camp at McMillen park where kids can attend for free. One of the actitities everday at the camp is teaching kids how to play golf. That is a great idea. The only problem is the kids that attend camps like that are typically from families that don't have a lot of money so there is no next step. Once those kids leave that camp there is no possibility for them to actually get on a course and play. A lot of course used to offer junior leagues for kids to play in but even most of those have gone away.
As golf has continued its decline local leagues have started to dimish as well. The golfers that used to fill those leagues have grown older and new players have not replaced them. We all know it isn't possible to have courses where kids can go and play for free. But it would seem like courses could offer some kind of discount for parents that bring their kids to play golf with them. If golf is going to make a return it is going to have to find a way to lower the costs associated with playing so that average kids can play.