IS GOLF IN DECLINE, OR IS IT JUST "STAGNATION"?
"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).