The growth has to come from the players who are interested in playing and learning the game.
Washington Crossing, PA (PRWEB) July 30, 2014
According to recent statistics, the game of golf is struggling with participation at an all-time low.
Last year, the National Golf Federation (NGF) tallied 3.7 million new players to the game. That's a promising number, isn't it? Well, not exactly. Because in the same year, 4.1 million golfers dropped the game, resulting in a net loss of 400,000 players. Although 260,000 women picked up the game, this growth was counterbalanced by 600,000 men deciding to discontinue. By comparison, around 15 years ago, almost 30 million Americans played golf regularly.
Another disturbing NGF statistic tallies newly built U.S. golf courses at only 14 for this year, 2014. Meanwhile, 157 courses have closed shop. Sadly, last year was the eighth year in succession that saw more courses close than open. These findings would have been inconceivable only a few years ago, as golf had become accustomed to steady growth for decades.
Why the downward spiral?
In his annual state of the industry speech at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL, Jim Koppenhaver of Pellucid Corporation revealed that the biggest loss came from younger players aged 18-34. Koppenhaver suggested that younger generations are forgoing the game, finding better ways to spend time and money.
Last January, John Reitman commented that some people felt golf did not deserve a boost unless - or until - there was a seismic shift in its popularity (source: TurfNet.com). Well aware that the game was in trouble, The Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) created a scheme, the Golf 2.0 player-development initiative, in an effort to boost the sport’s dwindling popularity. Unfortunately, the campaign fell short of its target of 27 million players, achieving only around 24 million, according to Koppenhaver.
Clearly, the game calls for a revolutionary approach to prevent participation from dropping further. Fortunately, solutions are at hand - solutions that utilize the latest technology.
Available at no cost to members, Time to Play Golf is an innovative mobile phone app that functions to turnaround the game. Working in conjunction with the PGA and others, this app endeavors to rebuild the game, starting with the golfer. It will particularly appeal to the 18 to 34-year-old demographic - the very age group that gave up playing golf in such large numbers.
Time to Play Golf, recently released on both iOS and Android devices, renders it possible for players of all skill sets to find golf partners quickly and easily. Given the constantly diminishing numbers of available golf courses, the app not only links up golf partners of equivalent skill levels, but also reveals to members the nearest course location and the golfers playing that course.
Doug Hilgenberg, the inspiration behind Time To Play Golf, created this golf partner finder to grow the game from the ground up.
"My personal belief is that the big golf brands, try as they may, cannot grow the game of golf in the same way that golfers can," Hilgenberg explained. "The growth has to come from the players who are interested in playing and learning the game. Many players, however, are having a hard time finding golf partners and resorting to playing solo. This is unfortunate because they’re just not getting the most from the game and much of their invested time and effort is going to waste.”
Dawning the age of the smartphone, society at-large has become increasingly accustomed to using mobile devices to connect with others via shared interests. People want content that interests them, and they want it immediately. Golfers are no different.
Time to Play Golf fulfills the desire for real-time golf conversation and connectivity, while simultaneously creating increased awareness that will hopefully culminate in a much-needed comeback. Thanks to the combined efforts of advocates and technological advancements, the game of golf may soon experience a powerful resurgence - a resurgence in which Time to Play Golf intends to play an integral role.
To date, the Time to Play Golf network has amassed 1,600 new members, with more players getting on board each day. Contribute to the game’s revolution and join now!
About Time to Play Golf
Time to Play Golf, the fastest growing golf social network, is designed to help people build connections through golf - anytime, anywhere. Find golf partners, discover new opportunities to play, launch and join golf events, stay abreast golfing news and events, and more! TTPGolf enables golfers instant access to their local golfing community and beyond!