Most golfers know all too well that a game of golf can take too long. Who has not experienced five and six hour rounds? Surely, the working men and women of today can not spare that much time on the golf course. The key may be getting golf back to being an experience of around three hours - the way it once was. This could work well considering the way we live today. Not too short, but long enough to achieve some kind of fulfillment.
To make the game more affordable, we must find ways to lower construction and running costs. The more we are able to lower this cost, the more ability we will have to offer the player lower fees. It is easy to predict that by each decade from now on, dealing with environmental restrictions will not become any easier for golf clubs than it is today. If anything, this will become more complicated and more expensive.
Today's average eighteen hole golf course needs more land than ever before (around sixty hectares or 150 acres). The golf ball now flies further than ever before due to innovations in club and ball technology. Therefore, golf courses have been lengthened in an effort to maintain certain levels of difficulty. Also, longer shots have a wider margin of error, meaning that a golf hole's line of play needs to be pushed further away from the property boundary, other land uses within the golf course or an adjacent fairway. All this requires more land, a resource that generally will gradually rise in value. Demand for it will increase as the Earth's population will continue to grow significantly, according to UN projections. The same applies to water use. These are only two cost items of many that are likely to grow in the future.
Golf will therefore not become any less expensive in the coming decades unless we are ready to open our minds and pay proper tribute to what golf really is, from what it has originated and how it has evolved for the several hundred years it has been played.
Breaking the Mold, by David Gould for Golf Business
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