Most of us who pay attention to golf are well aware of the state of the sport here in the United States. So what’s going on north of the border? Canada’s National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) has just released a study of golfers in Canada, surveying 1,300 players about their involvement, interest and support for the game; their level of play; and demographics.
The study determined that Canada has about 5.7 million golfers between the ages of 18 and 59 (it excluded people older and younger). About 18 percent of people enter the game each year and 18 percent also leave the game each year. Also, 38 percent of the golfers say they’re playing fewer rounds now than previously, while only 14 percent say they’re playing more.
The game appeals mostly to a well-educated, higher-income demographic, a finding that represents both a positive in the strength of that player base but also a threat in terms of its appeal to such a narrow slice of the population. Worryingly, only 25 percent of the golfers surveyed are considered “engaged” in golf, meaning that they play, follow, support and endorse the game, while the other 75 percent say they could “take or leave the game.”
Also, the survey said, there is a limited interest in golf among Canadians outside of those who already play. Of the 73 percent of Canadians who don’t play, only 12 percent are very interested in golf, while only 3 percent believe they’re likely to take it up in the next three to five years.
The survey’s most surprising finding is that time and money (or the lack of either or both) don’t necessarily drive players’ level of participation. Women in the survey tended to say that they’re interested in playing, but that “the game is not worth the cost.” Conversely, men tended to believe that “the game is worth the cost.”
The bottom line, according to the survey, is that golf in Canada is both vulnerable and on the cusp of greatness. It’s vulnerable, the report says, because such a significant part of the playing population isn’t fully engaged with the game. At the same time, many people play even though they’re not fully engaged, and increasing their level of engagement could, in the study’s words, “be a significant breakthrough in the golf industry.”
In summary, the suvey said, golf in Canada needs more engaged players -- arguably more than it needs new participants. To accomplish this, it said, “the Canadian golf industry must work together to find innovative ways to show golfers that the game and everything attached to it is fun, enjoyable, social, challenging but winnable, inspiring, prideful and lead edge.”
How to do that, well, that’s the challenge.
For more on the Canadian golf study, click here.
Chicagoland, of course, is fully into Ryder Cup mode, but it’s not the only place. England is also celebrating the Ryder Cup, thanks to the staging of the Ryder Cup Heritage Exhibition.
The exhibition, which opened Thursday and runs through mid-October, is being staged at a BMW showroom on Marsham Street, Westminster, in London. That location makes sense because BMW is an official partner of the Ryder Cup.
The Heritage Exhibition features personal items from past players and rare photographs, while a series of specially created display cases and graphic storyboards recount the history of the past 38 matches, covering its growth from a friendly competition to one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The Ryder Cup itself is also on display, at least for another week or so, until it makes the trip back over the Atlantic with European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal and his team.
“The storyboards show the evolution of the Ryder Cup from its origins back in 1926 at The Wentworth Club through to the 39th match, which will be played at Medinah Country Club in two weeks time,” said European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills. “Samuel Ryder himself was a man whose style mirrored the values of golf such as honesty, respect and integrity and his legacy spreads across many boundaries many of which the iconic Ryder Cup represents.”
Another Ryder Cup display, this one called “The Ryder Cup Exhibit … Where Legends are Forged and Legacies are Made,” debuted a few weeks ago in the Chicago suburb of Oakbrook, and is open to the public through the end of September. You can see a photo gallery of it here.
FootJoy created its new GTxtreme golf glove to help golfers maximize grip and durability in all conditions of play.
Bubba Watson debuted the new GTxtreme at the British Open and has worn it every round since then.
"Once I put the GTxtreme glove in play, everything about it was great," said Watson. "It gives me more control to perform at my best."
The GTxtreme uses proprietary digital Advance Performance Digital (APL) leather technology combined with a digital FiberSof material that results in a glove that FootJoy calls "the ultimate in grip and durability performance." The soft FiberSof material along the back of the glove along with the PowerNet mesh and Power-Locking closure promotes a consistent fit, enhances comfort and creates an optimal fit.
"GTxtreme provides the best of all worlds; exceptional grip performance in all-conditions, maximum durability, comfort, superb flexibility and breathability with a precision fit," said Maria Bonzagni, Senior Director of Worldwide Marketing for FootJoy Golf Gloves and Accessories. "Together with a new high-impact package, prominent in-store display, creative interactive campaign and heavy print support featuring Bubba Watson, the new GTxtreme glove is sure to be a major hit."
The gloves are available in men’s regular left- and right-hand models as well as a left-hand cadet model, and come with a QMark magnetic ball marker. They carry a suggested retail price of $15 per glove.
For more information, visit www.footjoy.com/gtxtreme
Every year since 1986, the National Golf Foundation has surveyed the American public to figure out how many golfers there are. This year, for the first time, it also began trying to measure the number of people who play computer or video golf games, and the results are quite eye-opening.
In 2011, the NGF estimates, 25.7 million people (aged 6 and over) played at least one round of golf, while 56 million people played video or computer golf – that’s more than twice as many as the number of actual golfers.
But here’s the interesting part – of those 56 million golf gamers, only about 10 million also played golf on a real course. Seven million of the gamers were “lapsed golfers,” while 39 million have never played actual golf.
So the question is, the NGF says, are these non-golfing gamers more interested in playing golf than other non-golfers? The answer, they say, is yes.
According to the survey, 22 percent of non-golfing gamers are interested in playing golf now, compared with only 7 percent of their non-gaming counterparts. The NGF estimates that about 10 million people from the non-golfing gamer crowd have an un-activated demand for playing the real thing.
Who are these people? More than half are under the age of 30, and 29 percent of them are juniors (age 6-17). And 44 percent of the gamers are female – that’s a huge increase over the current population of golfers, which is only 19 percent female.
Golf gaming represents a promising gateway to growing participation among younger and female Americans, the NGF summarizes. The NGF and the PGA of America’s Golf 2.0 team will be looking at ways to convert these folks from consoles to courses, and it’ll be very interesting to see how that goes.
For more on the National Golf Foundation, visit www.ngf.org/
Miura Golf, one of Japan’s leading clubmakers, has added a fourth design to its KM collection of quality forged putters.
The KM-007, (KM stands for company founder and chief designer Katsuhiro Miura) begins as all Miura putters do, with a billet of fine low-carbon steel. Once forged into the proper raw shape, the KM-007 mallet is CNC (computer-numeric controlled) milled into an elegant form.
"Mr. Miura was looking at our putters, and felt we needed to take care of mallet players too," said Miura Golf President Adam Barr. "He came up with this design as a way to fit their eye while offering a soft, authoritative feel in a non-glare, milled finish. Miura-san understands that putting is very personal, and that a handsome look is as important as a solid feel. He didn't release this design until he was sure he had met both high standards."
The KM-007 offers a more face-balanced option within the Miura KM putter line. The KM-350, a heel-shafted model that is relatively short heel-to-toe, appeals to players with more of a fan-shaped putting stroke. The KM-005 (350g head weight) and KM-006 (370g), whose shaft intersection point is closer to the center of the putter face, are "quarter-hang" models balanced mostly for back-and-through swingers.
The suggested retail price of the KM-007 is $450.
For more information, visit www.miuragolf.com