GOLF IN PLYMOUTH
Golf has been important of Plymouth's recreation for decades. A 1999 survey showed that 52% of Plymouth household had at least one member who golfed.
hirty seven percent reported that they play more than 20 times a year. A significant number (28 percent) reported that they play over 30 times a year. This level of participation would probably rank golf second, behind walking, as the most frequent recreational activity of Plymouth residents.
The survey also asked about the public's interest in keeping those courses. 79% thought the city "should take steps to assure that at least one of the these courses remains open to the public", and 54% favored spending funds to keep at least one of the courses open.
The conclusion in the 2020 Plan was that "In order to satisfy resident desires and to maintain the present high level of service, quality of life, recreational diversity, and protection and enhancement of natural areas, it is important that Plymouth strive to preserve publicly accessible golf courses in the City."
"Golf is dying" has been a popular narrative since participation in the sport fell with the post crash economy and Tiger Woods' change in fortune. Peaking at 30 million players in 2005, on-course golf participation declined to 23.8 million in 2016, and far more courses closed than opened.
But the game of golf has been played for over 500 years. And the National Golf Foundation has tracked it for over eighty. Statistics suggest that what they’re seeing is not a precipitous drop in rounds-played, but a return to the level before golf’s popularity spike.
Participation in traditional green-grass golf has held steady in recent years, finding a new support level of approximately 24 million. In 2018, the number people ages 6-and-up who played at least one round of golf on a golf course increased incrementally to 24.2 million. While this rise from 23.8 million in 2017 falls within the margin of error for the NGF’s national surveys, it is the first measured increase in 14 years.
Off-course participation, meanwhile, increased by almost 10% in 2018, with an estimated 23 million people hitting golf balls with clubs at golf- entertainment venues like Topgolf and Drive Shack, at stand-alone ranges, and using indoor simulators. The majority of off-course participation (12 million) still occurs at golf ranges, whether its on-course golfers honing their skills or beginners learning the game.
An estimated 2.6 million beginners played on a golf course for the first time in 2018, a figure at or near historical highs. 15% of those beginners were over the age of 50,
IS GOLF DYING?
"Golf isn’t going anywhere. It truly is the game of a lifetime. Part of its beauty is that I can play it with my 80-year-old father, or my 9-year-old daughter."
Erik Matuszewski, Forbes
The most significant recent on-course growth can be found in the 65-and-over category. An estimated 4.2 million “Baby Boomers” played golf in 2018, up from 3.6 million in 2017. It’s also noteworthy that 15% of beginners in 2018 were over the age of 50, the largest percentage in 10 years and a sign that more Boomers may become committed golfers.
Game for all ages, for a lifetime.
Golf requires patience, control of your emotions, critical thinking, grit, determination, and a host of other traits.
WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT GOLF?
Club memberships down. Student debt up.
DOESN'T GOLF LOSE MONEY?
Sources & Credits
Information from this page came from the following sources. In some cases I may have quoted another author directly, without specifically citing the quote. Thank you to those authors. I claim no credit for others' work.