When I was growing up there was one point in my life when I believed I wanted to be a professional golfer. That was back when Tiger Woods was at the top of the golf world and never looked like he would be taken down. All the kids in my neighborhood would play his video game, emulate his celebrations, wear his gear, and watch him win tournaments on Sundays. The allure of being Tiger Woods made golf a popular sport, so when he went out of the game for a while, golf took a heavy hit.
Fast forward to today. Now, golf finds itself in the background of popular sports. The sales of golf equipment have been dropping; old courses have been closing down, and the TV ratings for major events hit record lows every year. This year’s U.S. Open, for example, was the lowest rated U.S. Open of all time, beating last year's record low. Can this all be attributed to golf’s biggest star becoming just another average player? In some ways, yes, but there are many reasons that golf has reached this steady decline.
In today’s world, we like instant gratification. Our generation has lost the ability to be patient for the most part. Golf can be a three to five hour commitment; not to many people want to sacrifice that much of their day to be on a golf course. We are very busy people, which makes it hard to devote that kind of time to a leisure activity like golf. How can we fix this? Make golf more assessable. In some major cities they have TopGolf. Topgolf is a facility where you can hit golf balls down a huge driving range and play point-scoring games with your friends. On top of that they also have a bar, food, and drinks which makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. If TopGolf grows to be in every major city across the country that could get people back into golf. At least it gives them an opportunity to swing a club.
Golf has become more of a country club game. Many public courses around the country are closing down because only the people at the country clubs can make the time and afford to play. There is a fair amount of equipment you need to play golf, and none of it is cheap. Drivers can retail for up to $400. At the rate things are going, golf will become a sport that is only played by upper class men who can afford the club memberships and fancy equipment.
Golf is no longer cool to the younger generations. This could be in part to the loss of Tiger Woods, but mostly it’s because they find it boring and difficult. I have played golf for many years and agree that I have wanted to throw my club across the course, but it hasn’t made me want to stop playing. Golf has taught me many things about patience and really focusing on performing a set task despite the distractions. So for those who don’t like golf because it is too difficult, don’t play until you are comfortable playing. Go to TopGolf, go putt into a glass in your living room. Like anything else in life, if you don’t practice you won't be as good as you could be.
When it comes to making golf cool again, that is where the pressure falls on Jordan Spieth and Rory Mcllroy. They are the new faces of golf, it becomes their responsibility to grow the game. The British open is coming up, and Spieth has the ability to win his third major tournament this year. He is 21 years old, and has won tournaments that most golfers dream of winning. He can become the new Tiger and make the game relevant, again. Although it is up to all of us out there who like playing golf, to keep playing and to try and grow the game before all of a sudden there is barely any game left.