Golf has already provided great players for each generation watching, from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods and now the likes of Jordan Spieth. There are several promising numbers regarding the sport’s continuing reach, including golf being accessed on more platforms than ever, females accounting for 35% of PGA Tour fans and a digital audience spanning 9.5 million unique monthly visitors.
Although the closing of some golf courses has prompted concern regarding golf’s future, the promising aspects are multiple. Here’s a look at four of them:
- Role in Youth Development
Whereas more high-action sports like basketball and football may appeal to the younger generation, golf possesses some characteristics that makes it ideal for youth development, both now in and in the future.
Like most sports, golf is a fantastic way to get kids outside and exercising, helping reduce epidemics like short-sightedness, which have been caused by a dramatic reduction in the time kids spend outdoors. Unlike sports such as football, the risk for injury in golf is much lower. As long as one is aware of all golf balls in the air and stretches beforehand to ensure no muscular pain, injury is unlikely, even when walking an entire 18 holes. Plus, the 18-hole walk burns 1,442 calories for an adult male carrying clubs.
Additionally, the various etiquettes in golf culture go a long way toward instilling positive values in children. Dignity and respect for your opponents and teammates (like your caddy) go a long way, reinforcing positive lessons taught at home. The combination of outdoor exercise and positive values makes golf a mainstay for the future of developing youth.
- Nurturing Business Relationships
Golf continues to be a very popular method to bring people together and bond, which is ideal for businesses that wish to acquaint themselves with others. Compared to a sport like basketball or football, where the action is so intense that time for conversation is nil, golf allows you to still enjoy and play competitively — though with ample breaks when waiting for others to go or when walking across the green.
As no other sport compares in regard to opportunity for discussion and relationship building, it’s likely that golf will remain the go-to activity for businesses and their employees when there are professional goals in addition to playing well.
- Growing Diversity
Golf continues to become more diverse, as talented players from throughout the world participate. Former USGA president Sandy Tatum, when imagining the future of golf, sees players dressing with more color (like Rickie Fowler) and only half of players in the 2046 Open being from the United States. Tatum and other golf veterans have developed programs like First Tee to help develop young golfers and keep the game going strong.
- Emerging Technology
Technology will likely have an impact on all sports over the next century. With golf, technology can aid in fewer lost golf balls thanks to microchip GPS, golf club technology that makes it more accessible to choose the appropriate club, as well as holograms that let you play virtually with others. All of this technology makes the sport more accessible and expands the game to those who find certain aspects of golf overwhelming.
Golf will continue to be an excellent, character-building sport for children and adults alike, helping to nurture business relationships while also appealing to growing diversity. Indeed, the future of golf seems very bright.