GOLF IN PLYMOUTH

"Plymouth has been talking about how to deal with golf for over 20 years. Based on a study in the late 90's it was thought that golf probably ranked second, behind walking, as the most frequent recreational activity of Plymouth residents."  

"Yet over the years, there have been several negative narratives that have dampened the enthusiasm for making golf a permanent asset for the city.  First, there's a rumor that golf is dying. Golf is neither dead nor dying. While it has contracted since the Tiger days, golf is an 80 billion industry with 24 million players."

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2.6 million people played in a golf course for the first time in 2018, matching last year as the highest single year measurement on record. The industry has had five straight years with more than 2 million beginners. By comparison they were 1.5 million beginners in 2011. Prior to the last two years the previous record high of 2.4 million was set in 2000 when Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity.

The number of golfers age 65-and-over increased almost 17% to 4.2 million in 2018. This number should continue to increase as the balance of Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom are 54, cross this milestone. As they retire, they should continue to positively impact rounds for the next decade. Golfers who were 65 or over played an average of 36 Rounds in 2018.

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

Locally, the National Golf Foundation estimates says there are about 20,000 golfers within 5 miles of Hollydale, and almost 68,000 golfers within 10 miles. The area has more demand for golf than can be accommodated by its supply of public 18 hole golf courses."

 

PLAYER DIVERSITY 

"Another narrative about golf is that it's an old rich guy's sport.  A comment heard from a few council members over the years is that it appeals to too small of a segment to invest in.  At 20,000 golfers within 5 miles of Hollydale, my guess is that there are far more golfers than hockey players.

 

Technology is spurning demand among millennials, with TopGolf actually creating new interest in on course golf.  In the junior segment, girls and non-Caucasians are adding diversity to the sport.  And it appeals to all ages.  When my husband was a kid he used to play Hollydale with his dad.  Wayzata has an intermural team that plays at Hollydale. First Tee is an awesome program that introduces kids to golf while focusing on character education and life skills. Hollydale had 8 different women's, men's, senior's and couples leagues.   Golf will be an old rich guy's sport only if there's no place for normal people to play." 

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DOESN'T GOLF LOSE MONEY?

"Another criticism of golf is that it's not profitable. That's not inherently true either. Certainly the Deziel family has not been subsidizing cash losses for all these years.  

 

But, for an independent golf operator who wants to retire, the reality is that the cash flow available from the business is probably not sufficient to offset the opportunity cost of cashing out the land in a popular urban area.  That's happening all over the country.  So much so that the National Golf Foundation is taking on its first study of municipal golf courses.  

 

In Edina, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, and thousands of other cities around the country, golf is a public amenity, no different than athletic fields, swimming pools and rec programs. As an amenity, the objection that golf "loses money" is myopic."

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