The following article came from the National Golf Foundation a few days ago and it poses a very interesting chicken and egg question about whether playing better creates passion for the game or if people who are inherently passionate for golf work on their games more and simply become the better players. Either way instructors need to understand that survey results below as they show that if you can create coaching programs that can elevate new golfers to the point where they are able to break 90 you’ve got them for life.

AMF has just completed a facinating study of golfers’ attitudes towards golf instruction and the NGF results mirror some of what we will be sharing with you soon from our study. Here’s what the NGF found…

Passion for golf by average score
Passion for golf by average score

“Better Golfers Make for Better Customers

Given that the demand for golf has not grown for several years, much attention is now being paid to player development with programs such as Get Golf Ready, Play Golf America, Link Up 2 Golf, etc. The major focus of these programs is on new and returning golfers. But what about strengthening commitment among existing golfers – is it possible? Would it pay? Recent research by NGF suggests it just might.

The Skill-Passion Connection

In a recent survey, we asked Core golfers (those playing eight or more rounds a year): “All things considered, how would you rate your passion for playing golf?” Respondents could choose any number from 0-10 where “0” was “not at all passionate” and “10” was “extremely passionate.”

We also asked about average score on an 18-hole regulation course. Results show that there is a correlation between passion and score – the higher the passion, the better the score and vice versa. Of course, passion and score are also related to play frequency – the golfer who plays more scores better and is more passionate.

Once golfers begin to break 100 regularly, the passion starts to grow (see chart above).

Once they break 90 regularly they move into the 9-10 passion range – these are the “golf nuts” we’re looking for.
Passion for golf by average score
Passion for golf by average score

While we can’t answer the chicken-and-egg question of which came first – the passion or the ability – we can look at the importance of instruction in increasing commitment and growing the game.

Some key observations:

  • 95% of Core golfers have a strong desire to improve
  • 80% say they are willing to work on their game
  • 81% believe they are capable of improving


  • Only 23% took a golf lesson in the past 12 months
  • And, 40% don’t know of a teaching professional they could go to

There are plenty of players who want to improve and believe they can do so with the help of a golf professional. Time and money are barriers to golf instruction, no doubt, but they are surmountable barriers for the majority of golfers. Course operators need to get their pros out on the range engaging customers.

Maybe the first step is a brief lesson or a clinic – what about after-work clinics that are fun and sociable? – eventually progressing to one-on-one instruction. As in virtually every endeavor, you have to ask for the order.”