Despite its benefits to business, young people have less time and patience for golf.
Sure, it’s fun, relaxing and great for networking – but it just takes so damn long.
The R&A – the governing body of golf – recently announced the results of a “pace of play” survey, which was carried out to investigate the issues affecting golf and the extent to which they impact their participation in the sport.
It surveyed more than 56,000 responses from golfers in 122 countries between September 2014 and March 2015.
It found that most 25-44 year-olds were never happy with pace of play, and would want a round to take less time. That’s why they are more keen to play nine-hole rounds over 18-holes. Of the 8,468 golfers in this age range who responded, 19 per cent said they would welcome the opportunity to play nine holes more often as an alternative format.
Twenty-one per cent of overall respondents said that golf would need to take as much as one-and-a-half hours less for them to play more often.
Overall, the survey revealed that, while 70 per cent of golfers are largely happy with the duration of their rounds, 60 per cent of golfers said they would enjoy golf more if they played in less time.
So what is a good, old-fashioned round of golf taking the back seat to these days?
According to the survey, the two biggest factors preventing people from playing golf are work commitments (34 per cent) and family commitments (29 per cent). The actual time that it takes to play is the third most important factor (16 per cent). Other things that take precedence over golf include other hobbies (12 per cent), and the difficulty of pay.
Let’s not forget the fact that it’s not exactly a cheap sport to play.
Seven per cent of respondents cited the cost of play as the biggest deterrent. One per cent cited the cost of the equipment.
Either way, the sport doesn’t have the mass appeal it once did. According to a 2012 study done on behalf of the National Allied Golf Associations, after steadily accelerating for years, growth in the number of participants has stagnated. There are now an equal number of people entering and leaving the game. A more recent report highlighted the fact that the number of rounds played in Canada declined from 28,700 in 2008 to 26,100 per course in 2013.
Perhaps we need new, faced-paced, stimuli-filled golf courses – complete with only 9-rounds – to attract today’s young professionals. Because, really, being away from your phone and focused on one task for 5 hours isn’t easy for most of us.