Recently, a local newspaper noted a low turnout in two county golf tournaments – the women, and the junior.
The women’s tournament only featured 32 players and the junior tournament only features six. The women’s tournament is by flights, so it’s not as though all golfers competed in the highest group.
Conversely, the men’s county tournament, which was held a few weeks ago has a strong turnout as normal, drawing about 125 people. Still, that number even seems down from the past. I remember when I used to play golf and played in that tournament, there was a larger turnout and often a sellout (which I believe was about 156 or so).
The big number, to me, when it came to the men was the numbers in the two lowest – the D and E – flights, which had a combined 55 players. That means nearly 50 percent of the field were in the two lowest groups.
So what’s happening? Why are numbers down all around?
Probably price and time.
When I switched to playing disc golf a few years ago, my two biggest reasons were because of the time aspect (I can play 18 holes of disc golf in about an hour and a half; 18 holes of ball golf, even with a cart, is 3.5 to 4 hours minimum), as well as the price point. In disc golf, the majority of courses don’t cost anything to play. Your biggest cost is the discs. And, if you aren’t competitive, a mid-range disc and a putter (so, about $20-$25 total) will be just fine for you.
Anybody price out decent clubs recently?
It’s also not cheap to play golf. If you want a cart, which I think the majority of golfers choose, it ups the price even more. Heck, there are some courses out there that require you use a cart!
Greens fees aren’t cheap.
Balls aren’t cheap.
You get the picture.
Our economy, while showing some signs of getting better, isn’t what it once was. That cuts into people’s “recreation” budget. More people are finding cheaper alternatives for their recreation, which is understandable.
I stopped playing because it got too expensive and I just didn’t want to sit out and play a round for four-plus hours. I’ve thought about getting back into it. I liked playing (at times). I liked it more when I walked the course and played, especially if I was by myself or just one other person. I got exercise and it was enjoyable for that long amount of time because I could kind of be in my own thoughts. My golf bag is one of those backpack-style ones and I tried not to pack it so much, making it decently comfortable.
But, like many people, I got frustrated. I wanted to do better. I hated shanking a ball or duffing a shot. I wanted to be some top-level player, even though I didn’t have the time, patience or money to put into being that strong. Let’s face reality – if you are going to play at a very high level, you need to put the time into it. I didn’t do that enough.
The same can be said for disc golf. To be good, you need to put the time in. I don’t have any decent courses too close to me, so getting better was tough. I didn’t play enough. And, honestly, one can only throw discs in a field or put on a portable basket so often before it gets amazingly boring.
The reality is times are changing. People are more in tune to expenses and what they do for recreation. This is all way too understandable, that’s for sure.
People still play golf, that’s for sure. Tournaments cost money, though. Sometimes people just don’t want to pay to play in the tournaments anymore.
Maybe it’s becoming more recreational and not so competitive. Maybe some people just want weekends for other things, leaving golf for a few rounds after work during the weeks. Like other things, though, it’s likely cyclical. I’m sure it will go up again at some point.
Hopefully, the reason isn’t just economical, rather family or friends or something along those lines. Diversity in what people do is an important aspect in life, and it’s always good to broaden horizons and see what else is out there.
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