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  1. #1
    Coaching Staff frazeHFC's Avatar
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    The young golfers of today

    10 years ago, when I was a 14 year old lad I would play in every golf competition that I could. On a Friday afternoon after school I would have the choice of whether to play the junior medal at Dundas or Linlithgow, and you could guarantee there would be at least 15 playing in each, often much more than this at Linlithgow. Linlithgow would have a dozen youngsters with single figure handicaps and the competition was quite good.

    Nowadays, with my brother who is turning 14, it seems like the juniors of today are in hiding. He has the same choice of Dundas or Linlithgow, but there will be a maximum of 2 or 3 playing in each competition, and there's even been times when nobody else has turned up. Between the 2 courses I think there is only 1 player who is off a single handicap.

    I thought this was just a coincidence, however he has his name in for a competition up in Nairn this weekend as my dad is away up there with him. And having just checked who he will be playing with, he's the only one with his name in for it!

    Where are the young golfers of today? There is no doubt there is some brilliant young golfers about, but it seems there is a lot less kids getting involved in competitive golf at a club level. I wondered whether he was just unlucky in his clubs or whether this is seen elsewhere. How are the junior sections looking at everyone else courses out of interest?


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  3. #2
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    Golf is too expensive for many youngsters.

    In addition the speed of it doesn't tie in with the instant gratification many want and as such, younger people don't watch as much of it on tv and aren't inspired enough to take it up.

  4. #3
    Looking at the World Rankings, Scotland are performing poorly.

    Our highest ranking player is Russell Know at 38. Then it's

    115 Martin Laird
    263 Scott Jamieson
    296 Paul Lawrie
    303 Ritchie Ramsay
    309 Stephen Gallacher
    356 Marc Warren
    359 David Drysdale
    392 Duncan Stewart
    416 Jimmy Gunn
    451 Craig Lee

    Scotland, the home of golf 11 players in the top 500 and only one in the top 50.

    England have 7 players in the top 50 and 12 in the top 100.

  5. #4
    @hibs.net proletariat member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onceinawhile View Post
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    Golf is too expensive for many youngsters.

    In addition the speed of it doesn't tie in with the instant gratification many want and as such, younger people don't watch as much of it on tv and aren't inspired enough to take it up.
    I don't buy your first point about expense but your one about youngsters and instant gratification is spot on.

    Golf takes time to learn and a lot of boring practice to get good at which isn't something that's particularly appealing nowadays what with all the other things they can be doing.

    I remember when I was young I used to regularly walk from Slateford/Craiglockhart to the braids with a set of clubs on my back, play a round for three hours then walk back. I'm not sure that's something anyone would do nowadays as there are far more options.

    The reason I disagree with the cost aspect is that clubs are even cheaper now than they were back when I was younger. I used to play with a set of second hand cut downs but nowadays you can go to sports direct and get a full set for cheaper than one of these phones every kid seems to have now.

    Saying all this there is a bit of a drive on now with youngsters in Fife where I live. Easing them into it might not get them hooked immediately but it might leave the door open for them when they grow up.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
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    I don't buy your first point about expense but your one about youngsters and instant gratification is spot on.

    Golf takes time to learn and a lot of boring practice to get good at which isn't something that's particularly appealing nowadays what with all the other things they can be doing.

    I remember when I was young I used to regularly walk from Slateford/Craiglockhart to the braids with a set of clubs on my back, play a round for three hours then walk back. I'm not sure that's something anyone would do nowadays as there are far more options.

    The reason I disagree with the cost aspect is that clubs are even cheaper now than they were back when I was younger. I used to play with a set of second hand cut downs but nowadays you can go to sports direct and get a full set for cheaper than one of these phones every kid seems to have now.

    Saying all this there is a bit of a drive on now with youngsters in Fife where I live. Easing them into it might not get them hooked immediately but it might leave the door open for them when they grow up.
    That would be like a teenager wearing asda trainers when everyone else wears adidas. Bairns nowadays expect the best of the best and cheap doesn't wash it.

  7. #6
    @hibs.net private member Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onceinawhile View Post
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    Golf is too expensive for many youngsters.

    In addition the speed of it doesn't tie in with the instant gratification many want and as such, younger people don't watch as much of it on tv and aren't inspired enough to take it up.
    I'd agree about the cost. It's not just about the equipment but the green fees and a particularly high expense when I was young was replacing all those lost balls!

    The point earlier about the media exposure of golf I think is a very good one. I don't think there's any golf on council telly. Golf sold out to satellite and the kids don't get to see heroes like Lee Trevino or Seve Ballesteros.

    I enjoy playing on my tablet these days. I suspect any interested kids will be playing cyber golf rather than wet and windy golf.
    Space to let

  8. #7
    Coaching Staff frazeHFC's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how much the cost of it is related to the huge drop in numbers in just the last decade. The cost of playing at the clubs I mentioned has not risen at all, and at the end of the day it's the parents who will be coughing up the money for memberships and clubs.

    I think the point of games consoles grasping kids attention more than sport is a more likely reason. Kids don't know what they're missing these days; I think getting out on bikes and climbing trees is a thing of the past. 👀

  9. #8
    As a junior I always felt like an unwanted guest as opposed to a paying member due to the way a lot of the adult members acted, particularly the seniors. I'm not sure that's appealing to youngsters.

    There's probably a lot of truth in the instant gratification aspect as well.
    PM Awards General Poster of The Year 2015, 2016, 2017. Probably robbed in other years

  10. #9
    @hibs.net private member Golden Bear's Avatar
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    Apart from cycling, the apparent lack of interest in pursuing sporting activities by todays youngsters is of great concern. Golf is not the only sport which is suffering at present.
    Last edited by Golden Bear; 15-06-2017 at 08:17 PM.

  11. #10
    @hibs.net private member Speedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Bear View Post
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    Apart from cycling, the apparent lack of interest in pursuing sporting activities by todays youngsters is of great concern. Golf is not the only sport which is suffering at present.
    It's exactly the same in bowls.

    When I was a junior you had to be good to get a game. Now clubs would happily grab people off the street to make up the numbers.

    And to be honest that applies at a junior, adult and senior level.

    My take on it is that working patterns are very different to 20, 30, 40 years ago so people can't commit to those sports in the way they did in the past. When it's part of a parent's lifestyle you'll naturally bring more kids in.

  12. #11
    Testimonial Due Hibee87's Avatar
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    Id echo a few of the points.

    Playing with cheap clubs is a no no, even why I was growing up up was all nike and titliest etc so there is an expense there.

    I also used to walk about 5 or 6 miles to play, sometimes on my own, then walk home. I HATED being stuck in the house so there is also that trend of computers to compete with now as well. Lack of decent gold games for computers may also hinder youngsters taking it up.

    GOlf is a frustrating sport and I can see how the having to put effort in putting a lot of kids off these days (unfortunatly)

    The cost of a round is pretty expensive as well, for me to play local (craigentinny) they are wanting 25quid. Its not that great a course and never worth the same as what I could pay for a round at ratho/pumpherston/uphall etc.

    I really want to get my son into golf (he is 5) so was thinking of just getting a small club for him and taking him to the driving range to just hit balls and hope he enjoys it enough to continue. I also looked at lessons for him, but most places I looked were from around 8 or 9 years old on wards.

    I also had the feeling as a youth that we were just getting in the way of the adults, hated us being in the club house etc. I guess attitudes will change hopefully, but maybe there is a market for a junior course only with some club pros/ex club pros to provide some help and to work on their techniques etc

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by theonlywayisup View Post
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    Looking at the World Rankings, Scotland are performing poorly.

    Our highest ranking player is Russell Know at 38. Then it's

    115 Martin Laird
    263 Scott Jamieson
    296 Paul Lawrie
    303 Ritchie Ramsay
    309 Stephen Gallacher
    356 Marc Warren
    359 David Drysdale
    392 Duncan Stewart
    416 Jimmy Gunn
    451 Craig Lee

    Scotland, the home of golf 11 players in the top 500 and only one in the top 50.

    England have 7 players in the top 50 and 12 in the top 100.
    Did my usual "wonder where the Scots are on the leaderboard" from the Joburg Open in South Africa.

    We've got only one golfer through to the final two rounds - Robert McIntyre currently in 51st position at -1.

    England have 16 golfers through to the final day, 14 of which are in the top 40.

    England had 21 players who missed the cut, whilst Scotland had seven.

    The decline of Scottish Golf continues!!

  14. #13
    Promising Youngster Alfiembra's Avatar
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    I had an interesting conversation recently with the pro at Brechin Golf Club, nice course by the way,
    He says that in their case they are a bit remote from the town centre so getting juniors out there is the first problem. He said that the instant gratification of video games was killing any chance they had of attracting youngsters to take up the game. They had tried everything even offering free memberships for juniors to no avail. They also have footgolf but it hadnít helped to boost any interest.

    His own opinion was that Golf in general had to have a rethink. He felt that to encourage youngsters back into the game was to change the format, as other have said, kids arenít interested in 4 hour rounds, so short course games 6 hole format.

  15. #14
    @hibs.net private member Golden Bear's Avatar
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    My own Club is investing a lot of time and resources into the Club Golf program. It seems to be popular enough with the younger kids so hopefully in time these same kids will progress into the competitive side of Junior Golf then ultimately become full members.

    I really hope that "Club Golf" is the correct route to be going down, it certainly introduces youngsters to the game at a very early stage but whether that interest can be maintained over the years remains to be seen.


    Its also an alarming trend that so many golfers now choose to participate on a "pay as you play" basis rather than taking out a Club membership.

  16. #15
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    I went over to Houston a couple of years ago to look after my nephews.

    At the time they were 6 and 8 and we did various things to keep them entertained whilst their parents (my partner's brother and wife) went away for the weekend.

    They are very lucky in that they are members of a local country club that has a golf course, driving range, tennis courts, swimming pool, gym etc.

    I took them to the driving range once and out for 9 holes of golf once, and they loved it. They have a genuine interest in the sport, and a colossal chunk of sibling rivalry which means they can while away hours just trying to get the better of one another.

    The great weather and good surroundings certainly helped, but I couldn't believe how focussed and into it that the 2 wee boys were. Obviously at that age they wouldn't have done 18 holes, but were perfectly happy for 9. It wasn't even that special a treat for them - they go out with their Dad all the time.


    I don't know what the answer is here. I suspect that golf in Scotland will change quite a lot over the years and that a lot of courses will disappear. Kids aren't getting into it and young adults are being priced out of it. As the baby boomers die off along with their expensive memberships, I think we'll see a lot of clubs in even bigger trouble than they are now, which is a shame as golf is a great game.

    Ski-ing is apparently facing a similar crisis over the next few decades as the people who are interested and can afford to do it lose the physical capability to do so.

  17. #16
    @hibs.net private member Golden Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smartie View Post
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    I went over to Houston a couple of years ago to look after my nephews.

    At the time they were 6 and 8 and we did various things to keep them entertained whilst their parents (my partner's brother and wife) went away for the weekend.

    They are very lucky in that they are members of a local country club that has a golf course, driving range, tennis courts, swimming pool, gym etc.

    I took them to the driving range once and out for 9 holes of golf once, and they loved it. They have a genuine interest in the sport, and a colossal chunk of sibling rivalry which means they can while away hours just trying to get the better of one another.

    The great weather and good surroundings certainly helped, but I couldn't believe how focussed and into it that the 2 wee boys were. Obviously at that age they wouldn't have done 18 holes, but were perfectly happy for 9. It wasn't even that special a treat for them - they go out with their Dad all the time.


    I don't know what the answer is here. I suspect that golf in Scotland will change quite a lot over the years and that a lot of courses will disappear. Kids aren't getting into it and young adults are being priced out of it. As the baby boomers die off along with their expensive memberships, I think we'll see a lot of clubs in even bigger trouble than they are now, which is a shame as golf is a great game.

    Ski-ing is apparently facing a similar crisis over the next few decades as the people who are interested and can afford to do it lose the physical capability to do so.
    The weather in recent years hasn't been great for the skiing industry and similarly the wet summers don't exactly entice the kids on to the golf course.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Bear View Post
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    My own Club is investing a lot of time and resources into the Club Golf program. It seems to be popular enough with the younger kids so hopefully in time these same kids will progress into the competitive side of Junior Golf then ultimately become full members.

    I really hope that "Club Golf" is the correct route to be going down, it certainly introduces youngsters to the game at a very early stage but whether that interest can be maintained over the years remains to be seen.


    Its also an alarming trend that so many golfers now choose to participate on a "pay as you play" basis rather than taking out a Club membership.
    Club golf is not the way forward, unfortunately.

    One of my local clubs has over 40 kids every week turn up for tuition by a mix of dads, grandads and pros. They do a fantastic job.

    How many of them are actually members of the golf club - probably 10.

    How many turn up to play in junior competitions - probably 3 or 4.

    The kids are happy to attend Club Golf with their friends. Unfortunately they are not happy to put the time and effort into trying to perfect the game and be really good at it.

    Yes there will be the odd one or two who are pushed by pushy parents. But there's very few who have that desire themselves. Golf is a solitary sport, one the kids of today are not embracing.

  19. #18
    @hibs.net private member Golden Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theonlywayisup View Post
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    Club golf is not the way forward, unfortunately.

    One of my local clubs has over 40 kids every week turn up for tuition by a mix of dads, grandads and pros. They do a fantastic job.

    How many of them are actually members of the golf club - probably 10.

    How many turn up to play in junior competitions - probably 3 or 4.

    The kids are happy to attend Club Golf with their friends. Unfortunately they are not happy to put the time and effort into trying to perfect the game and be really good at it.

    Yes there will be the odd one or two who are pushed by pushy parents. But there's very few who have that desire themselves. Golf is a solitary sport, one the kids of today are not embracing.
    Similar to what seems to happen at my own Club. Competitive golf for juniors no longer holds an attraction for many whereas in my days it was the meaning of life!

  20. #19
    @hibs.net private member Jim44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Bear View Post
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    Similar to what seems to happen at my own Club. Competitive golf for juniors no longer holds an attraction for many whereas in my days it was the meaning of life!
    Are you still using these old hickories, John?

  21. #20
    @hibs.net private member Golden Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim44 View Post
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    Are you still using these old hickories, John?
    Yip Jim still the same, I've had them since they were new.I was contemplating trying a graphite shaft but keeping the same heads.


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