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A jubilant golfer jumps for joy. Getty

The British NHS still has sneers and giggles when it recommended GPs to prescribe golf lessons, extolling the virtues of the sport for patients with heart or respiratory diseases, this is the perfect time for a checkup.

The trend of golf course closures exceeding openings is not slowing and the latest data available from one year to the next on the number of games played also show a decline, although an atypical year bad weather places an asterisk on this statistic.

However, diagnosing sports health solely on the basis of these traditional measures ignores the access points that are growing fastest with $ 84.1 billion in the golf industry. Off-course facilities such as TopGolf and DriveShack have helped raise interest levels to new heights. I answered questions from Steve Mona, executive director of We Are Golf, a national advocacy group, to better understand the vital signs of golf.

The golf commitment is rising, largely due to the growth of off-road venues.Getty

Mike Dojc: Of the 24 million American golfers, 20 million represent about 95% of all rounds played and spent, how stable is the golfing base?

Mona: When I'm asked about the state of the golf industry, I use two words: stable and evolving. The stable part is born of what you just said, these 20 million euros more, health and finances notwithstanding, they go nowhere. That's the heart of the game and that's why we've been stable for a number of years because this core tends to stay intact.

MD: As golf experiences evolve, measuring the health of play solely on the number of games played and the opening of courses versus closures seems inadequate. What is the best way to judge the vitality of the game?

Mona: I think that a metric on engagement is a better way to talk about the health of the game in our time. Thus, the commitment would include traditional measures that have long been part of how golf's health has been measured (total number of participants, rounds played), but more and more, you have to look at how people are doing. Engage with the game otherwise, mainly outside the course. places. For example, golf entertainment facilities, autonomous driving ranges and simulators, which in the United States are not nearly as popular as those in South Korea, are developing mainly in urban areas.

MARYLAND: Do you think Golf entertainment venues are a natural gateway to play golf courses?

Mona: Absolutely dude, no doubt. I understand that TopGolf is often an evening. You'll go there instead of playing bowling at Lucky Strike, at the movies or at the seat. But all you have to do, and I've seen a lot, is walking. There are people who generally benefit and who are loved by what has won a lot over the years, namely golf.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JUNE 30: Joey Fatone at Topgolf during the weekend of Dj Irie 2018 June 30, 2018 in Miami, Florida People: Joey Fatone _ Credit: hoo-me.com/MediaPunch / IPX/ MediaPunch / IPx

MD: How much do you expect the off-road golf market to become?

Mona Let me tell you this year. Last year, you played $ 24 million on a course in green grass and 21.2 million participated off-course, of which 8.3 million participated exclusively off-course. I believe that in the not-too-distant future, whether this year or in a year or two, more people will be participating outside the class. I do not speak exclusively, I speak only of the total. When the report on the 2019 golf industry will be released, it will be published in 2020 but by 2019, then you will see these lines cross each other and I do not know when they will come back, and I think that is good for the Game. Access is so important to be exposed to the game.

MD: Have the numerous golf initiatives aimed at wooing new players had a quantitative impact on participation in the sport?

Mona: In recent years, 2.3 million people in the north have tried the game for the first time. We do not have the 2018 data yet that will be released next month when the National Golf Foundation will release its report on the golf industry, but in the last four years we have seen a steady climb up to the end of the year. to 2.6 million people trying the game for the first time, [a record high]. This is an important opportunity to convert people trying the game for the first time into casual players or even passionate golfers, that's where we would like them to meet.

Which program can you highlight that is making progress?

Mona: Get Golf Ready is an example of the adult player development program. This is a program that does three things. One, he teaches the game, so you will learn the basics. Secondly, and this is very important, it also teaches you to interact with the game from the non-player point of view. This includes everything from what I do when I go to a course and show up at bags that everyone does not know intuitively or how to communicate with the starter or tidy up. All of these things that uninitiated golfers sometimes find intimidating and sometimes unintuitive. Then the third article is devoted to course experiences. There is a big difference between the driving range and the golf course and Get Golf Ready invites beginners to go on the course for an experience on the course.

MD: Among the good things that GolfPass, tThe $ 9.99 / month or $ 99 / year digital subscription program that NBC Sports and Rory McIlroy have just launched is a free monthly golf game. Do you expect this to have an impact on the number of rounds played?

Mona: Well, you do not believe it, nothing but mathematics. I do not know how many people will eventually join. I have not really looked at it or studied it, but if you look only at the economics, it's a very good deal. You must think in isolation that the result will be positive.

How many golfers will there be in America in 2025?

Mona: I think your participation in a class will increase because we are going to do a better job with retention. If you use the total number of 32 million currently, [including players who play off-course venues exclusively] I think 40 million is a very feasible but ambitious number.

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A jubilant golfer jumps for joy. Getty

The British NHS still has sneers and giggles when it recommended GPs to prescribe golf lessons, extolling the virtues of the sport for patients with heart or respiratory diseases, this is the perfect time for a checkup.

The trend of golf course closures exceeding openings is not slowing and the latest data available from one year to the next on the number of games played also show a decline, although an atypical year bad weather places an asterisk on this statistic.

However, diagnosing sports health solely on the basis of these traditional measures ignores the access points that are growing fastest with $ 84.1 billion in the golf industry. Off-course facilities such as TopGolf and DriveShack have helped raise interest levels to new heights. I answered questions from Steve Mona, executive director of We Are Golf, a national advocacy group, to better understand the vital signs of golf.

The commitment to golf is on the rise, largely because of the growth of off-road sites.

Mike Dojc: Of the 24 million American golfers, 20 million represent about 95% of all rounds played and spent, how stable is the golfing base?

Mona: When I'm asked about the state of the golf industry, I use two words: stable and evolving. The stable part is born of what you just said, these 20 million euros more, health and finances notwithstanding, they go nowhere. That's the heart of the game and that's why we've been stable for a number of years because this core tends to stay intact.

MD: As golf experiences evolve, measuring the health of play solely on the number of games played and the opening of courses versus closures seems inadequate. What is the best way to judge the vitality of the game?

Mona: I think that a metric on engagement is a better way to talk about the health of the game in our time. Thus, the commitment would include traditional measures that have long been part of how golf's health has been measured (total number of participants, rounds played), but more and more, you have to look at how people are doing. Engage with the game otherwise, mainly outside the course. places. For example, golf entertainment facilities, autonomous driving ranges and simulators, which in the United States are not nearly as popular as those in South Korea, are developing mainly in urban areas.

MARYLAND: Do you think Golf entertainment venues are a natural gateway to play golf courses?

Mona: Absolutely dude, no doubt. I understand that TopGolf is often an evening. You'll go there instead of playing bowling at Lucky Strike, at the movies or at the seat. But all you have to do, and I've seen a lot, is walking. There are people who generally benefit and who are loved by what has won a lot over the years, namely golf.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JUNE 30: Joey Fatone at the Topgolf during the weekend of Dj Irie 2018 on June 30, 2018 in Miami, Florida People: Joey Fatone _ Credit: hoo-me.com/MediaPunch / IPX / MediaPunch / IPx

MD: How much do you expect the off-road golf market to become?

Mona Let me tell you this year. Last year, you played $ 24 million on a course in green grass and 21.2 million participated off-course, of which 8.3 million participated exclusively off-course. I believe that in the not-too-distant future, whether this year or in a year or two, more people will be participating outside the class. I do not speak exclusively, I speak only of the total. When the report on the 2019 golf industry will be released, it will be published in 2020 but by 2019, then you will see these lines cross each other and I do not know when they will come back, and I think that is good for the Game. Access is so important to be exposed to the game.

MD: Have the numerous golf initiatives aimed at wooing new players had a quantitative impact on participation in the sport?

Mona: In recent years, 2.3 million people in the north have tried the game for the first time. We do not have the 2018 data yet that will be released next month when the National Golf Foundation will release its report on the golf industry, but in the last four years we have seen a steady climb up to the end of the year. to 2.6 million people trying the game for the first time, [a record high]. This is an important opportunity to convert people trying the game for the first time into casual players or even passionate golfers, that's where we would like them to meet.

Which program can you highlight that is making progress?

Mona: Get Golf Ready is an example of the adult player development program. This is a program that does three things. One, he teaches the game, so you will learn the basics. Secondly, and this is very important, it also teaches you to interact with the game from the non-player point of view. This includes everything from what I do when I go to a course and show up at bags that everyone does not know intuitively or how to communicate with the starter or tidy up. All of these things that uninitiated golfers sometimes find intimidating and sometimes unintuitive. Then the third article is devoted to course experiences. There is a big difference between the driving range and the golf course and Get Golf Ready invites beginners to go on the course for an experience on the course.

MD: Among the good things that GolfPass, tThe $ 9.99 / month or $ 99 / year digital subscription program that NBC Sports and Rory McIlroy have just launched is a free monthly golf game. Do you expect this to have an impact on the number of rounds played?

Mona: Well, you do not believe it, nothing but mathematics. I do not know how many people will eventually join. I have not really looked at it or studied it, but if you look only at the economics, it's a very good deal. You must think in isolation that the result will be positive.

How many golfers will there be in America in 2025?

Mona: I think your participation in a class will increase because we are going to do a better job with retention. If you use the total number of 32 million currently, [including players who play off-course venues exclusively] I think 40 million is a very feasible but ambitious number.