Thoughts from the Golf Industry Show - Part 3 of 3

This is the third in a 3 part series examining the state of the Golf industry. This article looks to the future of the industry, and the issues that will shape its financial health moving forward.


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  1. Frank McBrideJuly 15, 2013

    Thanks for the great article... notion of daycare is brilliant. Further still...I like the parallels you drew to the ski industry. As a fellow Colorado-an I too have watched the ski industry evolve while the golf industry lay stagnant. If manufacturers would take a cue from ski rental shops and aggressively get new and various brands of equipment in the hands of current players they would move more product. I can rent a $1,200.00 pair of specialty skis at Vail and yet I am If I rent my clubs because I didn't want to schlep them across country -- at best I'll get a mediocre set of clubs that are 2-3 years old. Ten years ago I wrote an article titled "The Art of A Great Golf Resort" and even though I didn't have the data you have...most of my predictions have come true...and yet with the exception of investing in GPS...the rest have been talked about but never implemented even though they low or cost neutral. (Strike that...Golf Week wrote Just Play Nine) I don't want to see courses being shuttered...the game experience could be so much better, and newcomers would get hooked quicker--but like most legacy operations golf thinks linear and yet the linear business model is constantly being bisected by a disruptive force. Too bad they won't listen.

  2. Michael A. CoxJuly 16, 2013

    Frank's got it. The golf industry is an incredibly short-sighted and narrow focused, not to mention missing the boat, group I have ever seen, with the possible exception of the movie business. First, golf development and marketing people tend to be focused on the "high end" consumer when it comes to R&D and marketing. They spend too much building courses that 80% of the golfers in the world won't or can't play. Remember Tom Sneva, race car driver? Tom told me one day he was going build a golf course people could play..."I want a good $18 golf course (back in '89)." He was out of work after a couple of bad crashes at Indy, So he did it and It made money first year pleasing lots of happy folks in the Phoenix area. The course, while no Augusta National, was very playable and enjoyable, not to mention well cared for. In my tenure as a resorts and travel writer for GOLF magazine in the 80s and 90s, I watched the run-up of the "elite" course count in this country. Some were over designed and virtually unplayable by the average golfer and certainly not affordable for most of the golf public. It was all part of the shortsighted elitist chase by developers to build the next Troon to attract buyers for overpriced real estate. Few met the expectations they tried to meet. I've played most of the great courses in the world and as everyone will see this week when the Open tees it up at Muirfield, a high priced carpet of green doesn't necessarily make it great golf. We're still missing lots of opportunity with golf to provide great outdoor recreation for more people. That over supply Darius mentioned in a blog a week or two back is due in part to the very issue I (and Frank above) point out. You don't need an 8000 sq ft clubhouse, and a fleet of Jaguar golf cars, or a property crawling outside service people, or flowers on every tee box. But you do need good maintenance, good greens and speedy play. Fiddlededee, you get the point, I've gone on too long.

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