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We are constantly bombarded

with ideas to ‘grow the game’

and yet the number of golfers

is not growing. There were 30

million people playing golf

in the United States previous

to the 2008-2009 recession.

Loss of jobs, less time and

meager disposable incomes

have caused that number to

decline by more than 20%.

Growing the game of golf

is the main objective of the

over 28,000 men and women

professional golfers that make

up the PGA of America. They

are in the trenches working

behind the counter and on

the practice range to help

everyone improve and enjoy

the game.

Golf courses owners have

cut costs and continue to

do so. In past years, when

they might hire two or three

assistant professionals to

perform the more mundane

tasks of running a pro shop

and golf course, club owners

now only hire one. The Head

Professional must now take

time away from interacting

with the customers to act as

a clerk, stock boy and cart


The result is that profession-

als have less time to meet

golfers visiting their facilities

and spend less time creating

a pleasurable golfing experi-


Another area that has

affected the number of

golfers is the addition of

too much technology in the

teaching area. It can frustrate

beginners and turn them

away from the game.

The use of technology,

to analyze swing speed,

launch angle and spin rate,

is a perfect tool for scratch

or professional golfers, but

too much information only

creates confusion for the

average or beginning golfer.

I recently had the pleasure of

meeting the new owners of

a golf resort. They were not

serious golfers and were only

interested in increasing the net

profit from their resort.

They asked,

“If you were in our shoes what

are three things you would do to

make sure we are profitable in

our first year?”

In my answer, I stressed that

the golf department should

be the showcase of the resort.

A beautifully maintained

course creates the perfect

presentation for the entire

facility and provides a value-

added concept for resort


As an owner, I would want

my Head Professional to be

a vital cog in each customer’s

experience while they are on

the grounds. In addition, the

facility should become known

for its teaching academy.

Many have left because they

Is Technology Ruining Golf?


Brad Patterson, PGA Professional

NWO Golf Links