The Golf Business Struggling in Local Communities
Golf is a game that people can play their whole life, it’s challenging, frustrating, and all at the same time a wonderful game to play. It’s meant for people of all ages, whether you’re the youngster learning the game for the first time, or the 80 year old out to enjoy a day on the course. It’s a game different than others in many ways, you can play it with almost anyone. It can be a competitive tournament sport, or a family outing and a way to spend time with each other. There are so many great things to talk about in the game, but yet it seems like it is a dying sport. Now obviously there are different factors that contribute to that, for instance weather is one, especially in a city like Chicago. Another big factor is that it’s not the cheapest sport to play, so the economy has a huge effect on the sport, along with other things that contribute to the current slow state of the game. Locally people can see the sport struggling, even just as local as these suburbs of Chicago.
Orland Park is known as the golf center of the world, but even local courses in Orland Park and surrounding towns seem to be seeing a decrease in revenue and play. “It’s tough because of the unpredictable weather that we have here; even just a threat of rain scares people away. And if the weather report is wrong and it doesn’t rain, it’s already too late because people make other plans”, says Mike Camerano the General Manager of White Mountain Golf Course. White Mountain, a local golf course has seen the effects of the weather over the recent years. “Play is down; the amount of buckets we sell has seen a drop over the last 3 years, and to try and compensate for it we were forced to raise the prices this year. Buckets of balls were all raised a dollar, along with rounds of golf prices being raised from 17 to 20 dollars.” Both stem from the effects of weather and the current state of the economy according to Mike. All courses in the Chicago area have the difficulty of dealing with the weather each year, which seems to become more and more unpredictable.
Not only are golf courses in a tough situation right now with trying to find ways to increase revenue, also there is a struggle for golf sales in the equipment side of the sport. According to an article on GolfWrx.com, “TaylorMade-adidas Golf sales were down 18 percent currency-neutral in Q2 and 27 percent at the end of the year.” Golf is declining in all aspects of the game, and usually the two go hand in hand. Either both are doing very well, or both are struggling to find ways to increase revenue. Locally Brian Ludwig owns his own Golf Pro Shop and has too seen the decline of the game. “When people are coming out to golf is when I see the best sales in my shop,” says Brian whose pro shop is connected to White Mountain Golf Course. Golf equipment again is not the cheapest thing in the world, but still with reasonable sales and prices it’s tough to handle the fact of sales decreases. Brian owns just a small pro shop, but even big box stores are taking the hit of the economy. Just recently, Golf Galaxy was forced to close some local stores in the Chicago area. The two closest being in Skokie and Downers Grove Illinois. It’s tough to stay in business with so many different options for people to shop at. The biggest problem with the equipment side of the sport is the durability of the equipment. Most people can buy a new set of clubs one year, and not need a new one for another few years. While there are still the golf enthusiasts that go crazy and spend tons of money each year, there are just too few of them for it to be noticeable in the business.
Promotions, advertising, and anything else being done to try and attract golfers into the game. The game is popular among people, and wonderful because of the ability to play it your whole life. Local golf courses are trying their best with new ways to attract people into the game of golf. Even the PGA Tour is doing its part and trying to make the game better and more attractive every day. Local events such as golf scrambles, contests, and giveaways are always being done to try and build the game of golf. The game of golf has been around forever, and one that we need to get more people involved in every day.