Government and Golf

December/22/2015 6:58AM
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There’s an old saying in the Middle East. “My grandfather rode a camel, my father drove a Model T, I drive a Mercedes, my son has his own jet, and my grandson will ride a camel.” Lot’s of us think this is looking like it might apply in this country.

The modern game of golf is thought to have begun in Scotland in 1457. There were 267 clubs in the United States in 1910. My house is less than a mile from one of the oldest, Chicago Golf Club, which was established in 1880. By 2013 there was 10,600.

When I started this blog it was  because I felt my grandkids will be their first generation to have a lower standard of living than their parents. The country seemed to be going in the wrong direction and I felt Obama would accelerate that demise. At the same time, golf began to lose popularity and the sport was struggling. The only correlation was poor leadership.

The country was veering away from the foundations that made it great. From capitalism to socialism. It didn’t make any sense since there was not one example of a successful socialist country but our leaders were being elected to do that job and the public was buying the idea. Self destruction by willfully eliminating manufacturing due to climate issues and hence a stagnant economy with fewer people finding jobs or choosing to work. A trillion plus in student loans that will not be repaid. Trillions more in promised retirement pay that can’t be paid. Eighteen trillion in debt that is growing. For reasons that no one can explain, none of this destruction can be halted. The good times were gone and the music stopped but the crowd danced on.

The sport of golf had always experienced growth from 1910 to the early 2000’s and no one thought it would stop. But, it has. There are 643 closed courses since 2006. With 4 million fewer golfers today than in 2005 and a 5% drop in players between the ages of 15-24 there will be more courses closing. Between 130-160 next year. The economy has made Millennials tentative about commitment and they are glued to phones and have short attention spans.  Golfers are dying and becoming too old to play the game and they are not being replaced by younger golfers. The leadership of the golf business the USGA, the Royal and Ancients, and the PGA are mostly ancients. They see it but they have no clue how to fix it. Hence, it won’t get fixed. Here’s an example why. The Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona draws over 500,000 fans and the 16th hole has 20,000 fans and 155 skyboxes around the 162 yard par 3 hole. The caddies used to race to the green, but the PGA stopped that worrying that a caddie might get hurt. The golfers used to throw token gifts to the fans but the PGA thought that might be unsafe. Get the picture? A PGA event does not publicize attendance, but most would be lucky to draw in a week what the Waste Management draws in a day. The PGA had nothing to do with how this was created, it was done by a group of volunteers called the Thunderbirds. But the PGA, and some pros with ramrods up their asses who don’t like the atmosphere, will try their best to destroy it and make sure it’s not duplicated anywhere else. It’s called fun and the Millennials love it and turn out in droves.

So, in both cases, the country and the sport, there is ample evidence of problems. In the country there is time to fix the problems, but not much. This election will decide whether we get 4 more years of socialism. In the sport, it’s too late. You can’t replace a generation of people who don’t play the sport.  So, it’s more courses closing, fewer players, and continued bad leadership watching the train wreck until the first responders are called.

Want to watch your country follow the sport of golf down the tubes, vote for Hillary or Bernie or another attorney who talks a good game but can’t run anything ? It’s a pivotal election. you see it as well as the leaders of golf see it, but they didn’t see it when it was fixable. Care about your grandkids? Better act.

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Comment (1)

  1. Tom Reynolds says:

    Bill, You are so right. How many people play golf today with there cell phone with them? How many young people to you see on any golf course? I tried to get my grandchildren to play but with no sucess. I can’t believe why the PGA won’t let more fun happen as there is at the Waste Management outing in Phoenix. Can’t anyone see what is happening? Merry Christmas to everyone.

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