Thursday, May 20, 2010

9-Hole Courses and the Success of Golf

In a May 15 Wall Street Journal article writer Matthew Futterman authored a piece entitled, Golf's Big Problem: No Kids. In it, he discusses how golf has difficulty bringing and keeping young kids to the game and goes on to explain the tact tennis has taken to make the game easier and less intimidating for beginners with much success.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golfers age 6-17 dropped 24 percent to 2.9 million from 3.8 million between 2005 and 2008, the most recent statistics available.

In the article, the NGF makes a connection between attracting young players and 9-hole golf courses.

"Greg Nathan, a spokesman for the NGF, said participation growth has always been accompanied by growth in accessible, affordable facilities, including nine-hole and par-3 courses. Resort and premium courses built by entrepreneurs more interested in real estate than golf drove the latest boom. Although there are 492 more golf courses in the U.S. today than in 2000 (15,979 compared with 15,487) the number of nine-hole courses has dropped to 4,441 from 4,768 while par-3s have dropped from 854 to 895."

Later in the article, Dan Van Horn, president of U.S. Kids Golf, manufacturer of youth golf clubs, advocates teaching the game from the green back so that children learn to be successful with a shorter swing then gradually move back to longer and longer swings.

The article makes some wonderful points that I have made in regard to the nine-hole Quinnetucket Golf Course. One of our major goals is to bring young players to the game in an environment where they can learn to golf in a way that makes it enjoyable for them, no matter the age, size or skill level.

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