Do golfers want to see the game grow?

The PGA of America
A total of 89 percent of recently surveyed golfers said it was nice to see juniors playing golf.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012 | 5:36 p.m.

Everyone who's been paying attention lately knows that the golf industry is trying hard to grow the game – meaning, essentially, increase the number of people participating in golf. But, the National Golf Foundation wondered, do the people who already love golf want more company out there on the course? Or do they prefer not having to share the fairways with so many other folks?

The NGF put these questions to a panel of core golfers -- and discovered that most avid players believe that it's "the more, the merrier" when it comes to their fellow duffers.

"Industry stakeholders have long theorized that there might be a segment of golfers who would like nothing more than to see fewer people playing golf – however, we really never had any insight as to the possible size of that group," the NGF said. "This research, although a limited window into that phenomenon, shows evidence that this group of 'golf hoarders' is small – 5 to 6 percent."

The vast majority of core golfers approve of both juniors and women playing golf – 89 percent agree that "it's nice to see juniors playing golf" and 80 percent agree "it's nice to see women playing golf” – though the enthusiasm isn't universally overwhelming. Specifically, 41 percent of core golfers surveyed said they strongly agree that growing the number of golfers is good, while 38 percent somewhat agreed.

Another 15 percent of the respondents had no opinion on the question, while about 5 percent disagreed.

All in all, though, that is excellent to hear. I echo the BGF's conclusion that "it's good to know that our consumer base understands what is good for the game."