By DENNIS SILVERS
During the past decade, the golf industry has struggled with several business issues.
They include golf course closures; the number of rounds of golf being played
are down in most parts of the country; golf merchandise sales are also down; and golf club manufacturers are experiencing declining profits.
Despite the efforts by various golf organizations such as the USGA, PGA of America, The First Tee and others, golf continues to lose players because of three reasons:
— The time element
— The cost of playing golf and golf equipment
— Pure frustration of the game that forces players to throw in the towel or, in this case, their clubs.
The face of golf is changing with both its players and golf fans.
Professional golf is almost unrecognizable by both older golf fans and amateur players alike.
Millennials who are entering into the golf market are changing the way golf courses and private clubs market to attract that demo and the millennials’ family members.
Young executives who have a family simply do not have the time to devote to the game. Therefore, they no longer support the various revenue streams that golf clubs and courses offer such as merchandise, food, beverages and lessons. Their business is, for the most part, sporadic and, thus, they are not good golf consumers.
The First Tee program is one program that is very idealistic.
It sets out to teach both life skills and golf. So do most of the other junior golf programs across the nation.
The problem with all of them is that there is no way to track the participants to see if they grow up still playing the game and contributing to the golf economy.
I will explore this topic in a later column.
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Badlands Golf Club closed in late 2016. The golf course land was purchased by Yohan Lowie, CEO of Developer EHB Companies, which wants to build homes on the golf course property. But this has been met with lots of opposition from people who live next to the course at Queensridge and who have filed several lawsuits to contest the development.
After months of hearings before Las Vegas City planning officials and City Council, Lowie has become frustrated that his plan has not been fully approved, despite the fact he has reduced the number of homes to be built. He recently threatened to stop watering the golf course and to sell the property to someone else. The saga continued with a newly-elected city councilman, Steve Siroka, who opposes the project.
Also, more bad news for local golfers. Several golf courses are up for sale in the Las Vegas Valley due to a drop in play, high water bills and other fixed debt expenses. Even some of the private country clubs are being targeted by investors — if the purchase price were right. I hear offers are being made, but no deals yet. But stay tuned — you might be surprised by some of these deals.
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Listen to Dennis Silvers on the radio as he hosts America’s longest running golf talk radio program, The 19TH Hole Weekend Edition on CBS Sports Radio 1140. His show had been described as “a way of life” for golfers in Southern Nevada.
Dennis also hosted the first televised golf show in the history of Nevada on cable TV, which won the Community Broadcasters Award in its first season. Dennis also appears regularly on KSNV-NBC Channel 3 on Sports Night in Las Vegas. The 19TH Hole Weekend airs Saturdays from 6-8:00 am PST on CBS Sports Radio 1140 and is streamed live over www.19thholeradio.com.