Another year and another 8-10 million rounds of golf have evaporated. Golf Datatech and the NGF have just released the 2011 National Golf Rounds Played Report and last year saw another drop in play of 2.5% nationwide.

We’ve now lost between 75-100 million rounds played per year from the peak about a dozen years ago with no end in sight. If you’re not redoubling your efforts to attract beginniners to your facility and add player development programs such as Get Golf Ready, and junior player development programs you’ve got your head in the sand.

Sure weather plays a role, but this has been a consistent trend for the past 12-15 years. Until we stem the losses we won’t see any new facility development and right now if you started permitting golf courses, you’re still 4-5 years from any significant growth in openings.

How bad is the macro picture? In 2012, 11 golf courses are expected to open in the United States. Down from an average of 350-375 during the first half of the last decade. This means that there are no new jobs out there for years to come. The simple equation is more golfers = more courses = more teaching jobs. Everyone needs to do their part to bring new players into the game. GBN members can’t afford to sit on the sidelines anymore than any other pros. I hope you’ll strongly consider how you can grow your player development pipeline in 2012.

Results from a few major golf cities:
Los Angeles  +3.2%
Phoenix  – .5%
Chicago – 7.0%
Dallas  – .4%
Atlanta  +3.5%
Orlando +5.3%
New York City  -6.7%
Boston  -2.0%

-Lorin