Golf: The New Family Sport
Golf is an intimidating game for any age. It doesn’t matter if you are a man, woman, young, or old, thinking about trying to put their little ball in the cup 400 yards away can cause a lot of nervousness. Golf’s overall popularity has been declining in the last decade. There are multiple reasons why this is true, but there’s one segment of the population which is continuously being introduced to this glorious game on an increasing basis. Want to know what segment of the population this is? It’s children.
Elementary school golf
There are several programs which bring golf to elementary school kids across the nation. The First Tee National School Program introduces the game of golf to elementary school children’s physical education classes. This program teaches golfs most basic skills as well as more advanced lessons to kids who can create a lifelong obsession with the game. It has been estimated that about 1.6 million children have had the opportunity to take up golf in elementary school from this program.
The Asian market
In Asia, golf is not just a game for adults anymore. From early ages many Asian parents are now encouraging their children to take up the game. China as well as other parts of Asia a rapidly building golf courses across the nation. Much more so than any other areas of the world. There has been the recent advent of many Asian golf stars, especially with the emergence of stars in the women’s PGA. This is helping to break down the stigma that golf is an elitist game. Many more “normal” people are taking up the game and pushing their kids into it at an early age from Malaysia to China.
Golf, a family game
Golf is a grand game. Taking a pre-teenager onto a normal size course can be very overwhelming for them. There’s so many factors that come into play when kids get out on the course which can be intimidating. In some regards, it’s anti-family and not very inviting. Things are starting to change however with the advent of more executive courses built around driving ranges. You see, when you can take your kids from hitting balls on the range to playing 3 to 6 short holes around the range, you make the game more inviting for the whole family. These smaller courses equal smaller fees and less time spent out there golfing, this adds up to a more family-friendly experience.
A decade ago having technology which measured the speed and distance in which a ball traveled when hit into a net was somewhat of a novelty. Today however, the use of this type of technology is more mainstream. This is allowing for many clubs and even schools to invest in this type of technology to teach their children how the game works. This technological solution for introducing kids makes the game more inviting and accessible for the kids which is a wonderful thing.
In surveying done in 2009 by the PGA, junior golf camps had increase their face and a small buy significant way. Between 2008 and 2009 youth camp attendees went from 72% to 77%. This was at PGA staffed facilities hosting junior golf programs. With the access of these junior golf camps more youth across the country and the world, there’ll be an increase in participation in the youth segment. The golf industry is not perfect and has suffered major setbacks in the last decade. Golf numbers have plateaued and a record number of courses are going bankrupt. The children are the future of golf if we wanted to remain a viable and culturally rich sport. Most golfing traditions are passed from parent to child, but with the advent of camps and elementary school programs the sport is being introduced to many who might otherwise not get that exposure. Golf is a wonderful life skill to learn for someone of any age and that is probably the reason more schools and parents are getting their kids in the golf these days.
About the Author: Phil Oscarson is an avid golfer, and golf analyst. If you’re looking for a great place to golf, deals on golf courses, etc. try GolfZing.com as a great source to find what you’re looking for.