As a millenial, i am one of the few who got into golf and quickly fell in love with it. It might be because of my male role model, my dad , is an avid golfer, but i think it has also a lot to do with the game itself. I like the competition and the fact that golf is not like any other sport out there. It requires more intelligence and less muscles, which makes it kind of appealing to someone like me, who also likes chess.
So, being a millenial on the golf course, i’ve noticed one weird pattern – all the friends i made on the golf course, almost all of them, were older than me. And i’m not talking about 1 or 2 years, it was very rare for me to find millenial playing golf on weekends. Which kind of breaks my heart, because Golf has always been one of the most popular sports in America. Other sports events, like NBA, don’t seem to be affected by technology and innovation, in fact one might argue Basketball has gotten even more popular. So why is it exclusively golf that young people dislike? After thinking a little too much, i think i might just have the answer. It might not be the only reason, but i think it has significant effect on golf’s decline.
Plus, parenting have evolved, and parents don’t push their kids to play golf anymore. Decades ago, they used to do whatever possible to make their kids pick up golf. They’d buy them great golf club sets for kids and other accessories, but that doesn’t happen that much anymore.
My theory is, that young people don’t get along very well with golfers, and therefore golf itself, because they are too liberal. People on the golf course do seem to be aligned to the right, and it is not rare to hear racial slurs or homophobic comments, and i think young people are put off by that. Millenials, even if they are conservatives, have been raised to be more tolerant than older people.
Among the millenials, golf is also seen as elitist sport. If you play golf, everyone assumes that you’re if not rich, at least upper middle class. Which is mostly false assumption, but stereotypes exist for a reason, right? It is true that golf is more expensive, and therefore less accessible for young people, who value ease of use. Golf is also difficult to learn and master, it takes few years to get a good hang of it. Back in the old days, that might have been fine, but now, in the era of video games and internet, that is too much to ask for. Youngsters are exposed to various forms of entertainment every day, and it’s usually really hard to make millenials commit to playing golf for a long time. They get distracted very easily.
Although, on a more optimistic note, this is not always the case. I see plenty of teenagers and twenty-somethings playing golf every day. So even though golf might not be as popular as it used to be, it certainly isn’t dying, and we’re all waiting for the turning point, when something dramatically changes and golf starts to become appealing to younger generation again.