Who says Golf is Dying?
The Open Champion, Jordan Speith, a true athlete at only 23-years of age just became the youngest ever to own three major golf titles. He's already won 11 times on the PGA Tour. He's a star athlete in a world wide sport. His play on Sunday, July 23rd at Royal Birkdale in the UK was an incredible display of grit, athleticism, and skill.
If anybody was watching the Open on TV on Sunday (July 23, 2017) you saw an amazing display of cool talent. But you should also have noticed that virtually every player in the Open was an athlete in excellent physical condition. How can young people not be impressed with the game of golf seeing so much power and skill?
If golf is dying, how come the Open drew the largest crowd of spectators in its 146-year history? Doesn't sound like golf is dying to me. Far from it.
GOLF IS ENTERING A NEW GROWTH ERA - UNLIKE ANYTHING BEFORE
One of golf's new phenomenon (in 2017) is the growing popularity of Top Golf. It's a great and entertaining introduction to golf. There are already 31 operating locations in 21 states the UK, Austrailia, and Mexico. Another 14 sites are slated to open soon.
Top Golf's arrival is timely. It's not unlike the era of the drive-by driving ranges, lighted par-3s, and executive golf courses back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s (I know because I had one of my own). Mostly gone now, they were the thresholds to golf for about 40-years. Top golf is the 2017 version of what juiced golf sixty years ago. You'll see.
Be sure to visit the Top Golf web site to see the kind of crowd it attracts. The atmosphere is so casual. The people you see there is a mix of all ages. Lots of kids, and lots of women. They're having fun around golf.
After people experience Top Golf, it's only a matter of time before they're going to want to get out to a real golf course. That's why I'm high on the future of golf. Top Golf will create thousands, probably millions of new golfers. But getting back to the Open.
Notice there were golfers in the Open from 28 countries around the world. A Chinese golfer finished third. We're now seeing golfers from India, Italy, and Thailand. I believe there were as many as eleven Koreans in the Open this year.
I know they went wild building too many golf courses in the USA without building more golf players, which thinned out tee sheets everywhere. But I'm saying that is going to change and many golf courses planning to close should hold on and get ready for the new golf crowd. In particular, I urge municipally owned golf courses not to slam the doors just yet. Muni golf courses need to keep doing what they were intended to do, which was to make golf accessible and affordable for its constituents.
I often refer to The Village Links of Glen Ellyn just outside Chicago as an example of a municipally owned golf course that truly serves its citizens. Village Links is more casual. It attracts men, women, boys, girls, and seniors of all ages. It includes a sporty grill room with big screens everywhere - cool and unbelievably busy. The place is 'alive' and a fun place to be.
Village Links of Glen Ellyn is an example of the future of golf. It's where golf is headed.
Me. I say, "People who say golf is dying are 'smokin' something."