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GORMAN VS GEARY me, because it’s my putting that sucks and in need of rehab. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Jim Koppenhaver, president of Pellucid Corp, a long-time recognized golf industry analyst, predicts that golf participation will decline dramatically through 2020, and warns golf course operators and manufacturer’s to adjust accordingly to the diminishing changes in the market, or in the alternative, they will go bankrupt. Not a happy scenario! As I see it the-powers-that- be in the golf industry still don’t get it. The two major problems with the game today is, one, it’s too damn expensive and two; there are way too many sandbaggers/ cheaters. One they can control, and one they can’t. Golf and wealth are closely linked. A recent If you’re one of 2 million individuals employed report from YouGov, a market research firm on in the struggling $7 billion United States golf inaffluent consumers, concludes that as income dustry, you have one desperate mission this year increases, so do golf participation rates. The par- create and keep more customers. Although ticipation rate for individuals in the $150,000+ inthat golden rule applies to every succome bracket is about double those cessful business, the golf indusin the $50K - $75K range, and try’s dirty little secret is that about five times greater the future is bleak bethan the rate of those in cause the sport is having the $30K or less group. It’s a major problem conno surprise that this group necting to millennials. of affluent golfers earning All the new technology over $150K account for one by Tom Gorman in the world is not bringing in third of spending on greens fees more players, and, although it’s a and an even higher market share of simple online process to book a tee time, techpurchasing the latest in golf club technology. A nology is not helping anyone play better golf. new players to the industry, Parson’s Golf ComAccording to the National Golf Foundation, pany, sells a set of irons for $5000, called PXG. which turns 80 this year, golf participation in New Money talks but it doesn’t guarantee you break England is down almost 7 percent through June. 80 every time out! Despite a strong presence on television and It’s a reach for me to conclude that a new sports magazines, which has a cause-and-efGolf Buddy range finder or that a new 915 Titleist fect on golfer’s spending habits on technology, driver or the latest high-tech Foot Joy Hyperflex every golf manufacturer is showing signs of stagshoe or Bridgestone’s B330RX Tour golf ball will nation. Last month sports conglomerate NIKE anturn my game around and knock off three or nounced it is getting out of the golf equipment four strokes off my handicap. An exception is business, and GOLFSMITH, the largest U.S. golf Trackman, which is a universally acknowledged retailer, has filed for Chapter 11. Taylor Made, beneficial product. which has a huge market share, is “for sale” beIn sum, I don’t need wearable technology cause it is losing millions every month. measuring everything from heartbeats to swing The over-all health of the golf industry is as speed or any other hi-tech tools when firing a questionable as the condition of Tiger’s Woods small white ball across a lush countryside and back. Yet, every year we are bombed with adinto 18 small holes. To improve my game I need vertising that the newest driver, set of irons, or a lesson from a certified professional and pracelectronic gadgets and gizmos will guarantee tice! AMEN! to improve your game. It’s total BS! Yes, I want (Tom Gorman, a Boston-based golf writer to improve but I don’t want to spend $900 on a since 1992, tends to be pessimistic and see things set of Taylor Made M-2 irons with graphite shafts. from the glass half-empty perspective.) Furthermore, I don’t think those clubs will help

Can technology actually improve your golf game? NO

92 | | September / October 2016

September/October 2016  

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