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IS GOLF IN DECLINE, OR IS IT JUST "STAGNATION"?
Published June 30, 1995
"Golf's apparent boom may by deceiving," reads the headline in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL. James Sterba examines the popularity of the game and reports that "most golf experts" disagree with the "widely held perception that golf is booming." The National Golf Foundation (NGF) reports that participation has experienced a decline across the board. Sterba: "Flatness? Sure. Stagnation? We'll see. So far we're not talking anything close to tennis' nose dive." Causes for the "flatness": The perception of golf as a game for rich men, and the percieved difficulty of getting on a golf course and playing 18 holes. Phil Guarascio, VP Marketing for GM, compares golf today to GM in the 60's, "facing mounting environmental concerns and needing to diversify and contain costs." Diane Perlmutter, COO of Burson Marsteller, which has been hired by the NGF to develop a PR plan for the game, said that "in the public's eye to the fur-coat industry as unfriendly to nature." The NGF's new logo has a golf tee with a leaf growing out of it, with the slogan: "Golf. It's Only Natural" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/30). In the current SI's Golf Section, Jack Nicklaus says that "technology is killing golf" (SI, 7/3 issue).