Video Series


Video Transcript

So in this video now we're going to talk about golfers and golf courses particularly in the USA by numbers. Now there's a lot of numbers here. So I haven't been able to actually memorize all of these numbers and because I don't want to give you duff [Phonetic] information. I am actually going to read it as I go along. So we’re going to look at the total number of golf courses in the States. Now play along at home here. Think about how many golf courses you might have in the whole of the United States of America. You got it.

Well it says here fifteen and a half thousand golf courses in the States. Now you might say, well there’s not that many near me or I'd expect far more near me. But actually they're not very evenly distributed around the States. You know you got the coal states where there's not a great deal of golf being played in maybe the more Southern states, Florida particularly we’ve got loads of golf being play, and we will come on to that in a second. Now how many of those golf courses are public access golf courses. Turn up, pay your money, get out and play. So about a fifteen and a half thousand you've got in total, eleven and a half thousand public access.

That's quite good actually. I was quite impressed with that figure, eleven and a half thousand golf course you can turn up, pay your money and you can get on and play. So there's only sort of four thousand golf courses are classed as private golf courses. Now off the municipal golf courses, so owned and operated by the city or the council or the township , two and a half thousand. So two and a half thousand are sort of publicly run if you like for golfers just to turn up and play. Now we have the same sort of process here in the UK that we've got municipal golf courses, generally a little bit cheaper end of the golf courses.

And you can just turn up and play, some people don't think they are kept in such good condition. But we need those municipal golf courses to get people playing at the bottom end of the structure to then feed into the more sort of high-end golf courses if you like in the membership clubs. So that's important that people do support the municipal golf courses and don't necessarily look down on them too much. Right, let's have a look at the total number of golfers, 2011, 25.7 million down from a high in 2003 of 30 million.

So golfers, core golfers people that class themselves as golfers is actually coming down in the States quite a lot over the last ten to fifteen years. We're down at 25 million from 30 million and that's dropping and that then ties into a stat that I’ll come to in a second about the number of golf courses. Now a number of golfers that say they are passionate about the game of golf that play eight rounds of golf a year, that's coming down a little bit as well. So those that play eight to twenty four rounds per year, it was 14.4 million down from a high of nearly 20 million in 2000.

So again the number of people that are playing golf on a regular basis, that's dropping. Now golfers that play at public golf courses 90% of the people played public golf courses. That's why the municipal golf courses are important. We need to have those golf courses to get these people playing the game of golf. Golfers who play at least eight rounds per year consider themselves passionate about the game, that was 90% of golfers. So we’ve only got 10% of people that are playing less than eight rounds of golf a year. And I guess that comes back to this thing that people don't want to play something if they're not very good at it.

And you got to be playing at least eight rounds of golf a year to really keep your standard up. So golfers that are passionate and want to play in a regular basis is 90% of it. There's not many golfers that turn up once a year and play. I guess generally because people don't feel like they play very well, so they don't quite enjoy it so much. Maybe we need to make some easy golf courses and par three golf courses and nine hole golf courses. Let people play once a year and still have fun out there on the golf course. Now this is interesting.

Increase in the number of golf courses since 1990, 24%. So since 1990, we’ve had 24% more golf courses built in the US. Public golf courses expected to close over the next ten years, 10%. So we've built all these golf courses in 1990, but now 10% of them are expected to close. And I read stories like this all the time about the States that a lot of golf courses are going to close. And the same thing is happening here in the UK as well actually. In 1990, we did a study of all the golf courses, the R&A did a study actually of all the golf course and all found out we’ve got massive waiting lists.

So all these golf courses have got 3-400 people desperate to play on them. Stories of people camping out in their cars overnight to try and get a tee time at six o'clock in the morning. So we started building a lot of golf courses and actually the government subsidized farmers to diversify their land away from farmland into golf courses. We had about 700 golf courses built in the UK which is actually a big percentage of our total golf courses. And now a lot of those golf courses are now struggling because similar to yourself, we've dropped in the number of participants, dropped in the number of participants playing on a regular basis.

Particularly a lot of those golf courses are now under pressure to close. Now one of my questions as a golf professional is why is that? Why people are now playing less golf? Is it time? Is it money? Is it the trends, does Tiger Woods' influence start to fade away now, because Tiger's not on the scene. And certainly thinking 1990, we had a lot of things going our way. We had you know a bit of free time for a lot of people, a bit of a disposable income, Tiger Woods coming on to the scene. He was really revving everyone up playing golf and a lot of golfers were out there playing.

We built the golf courses for them. But then the trend fades away. People have not got less time, potentially they have got less money with the economic crash. Maybe people have got more pressure with their jobs more pressure, family time. And certainly golfers are now starting to play less golf. We see a lot of golf clubs around here particularly membership golf clubs that are struggling to fill their vacancies. But actually a facility that I run in a facility, I work out which is a public access driving range. We have very few rules and regulations about who can come and who can turn up and what you have to wear.

The business is flourishing. So we're seeing a lot of people wanting that little golf in, quick fix, a little half-hour, an hour on the driving range, hitting balls with their kids, with their wives, with their girlfriends. But less people committing four to five hours and a thousand pounds a year to go on and play at a golf club. And it looks from those figures like the thing we're seeing in Europe and in the UK particularly is similar to the trends that we're seeing in the States. Hopefully you're still enjoying your golf. You are finding a lot of good information from this website golfinfoguide and the sponsors Thomas Golf. And hopefully you are enjoying this tuition I put out there for you as well. Keep playing good golf and all the best.