Golf is considered the homeland of where it all began and is one of the most important locations in the world for golfers. The first game in the country took place in the 15th century and has since gone on to play a vital role in the development of the sport.
The worlds governing body is based in Scotland at St Andrew’s and nowhere has done more for the women’s game with the Ladies association set up here in 1904.
Scotland is one of the most popular in the world with golfers but the popularity is on the decline and more is required to attract the next generation of golfers. There is an abundance of money in the game as it attracts vast sums in the form of sponsorship deals with well-known brands and betting companies. Large events such as the Ryder Cup attracts huge audiences worldwide and huge sums placed in wagers using options such as pointsbet and outright winners. Even with the massive financial backing the sport has, it is not been spent wisely to make the game more accessible to the general public.
Over the last few weeks, the Scottish Golf Chief Executive Andrew McKinlay has expressed his concern with the declining numbers getting involved in the sport in Scotland. This year has seen memberships fall by close to 5,000 and now there are less than 190,000 players registered. The decline in membership is having a devastating effect on the counties golf courses with 20 facilities closing last year and many more struggling to make ends meet.
There is still a vast number that play regular golf in the country but the problem faced by the Scottish golf association is converting those into members. It is not just Scotland that is seeing a decline in numbers as in a recent report by KPMG it shows that others areas such as the Netherlands, Ireland, and England are also in decline.
One of the main reasons for the decline in membership is the economic circumstances of the world economy with many struggling to make ends meet. It has meant that for most the cost of golf membership is a luxury item that they cannot afford. Instead of paying out fortunes for an annual membership, most prefer now to play on a playing basis to manage costs. Unless a way is found to convert these types of players into full members, it will continue to have a major impact on the game and we will see many more courses have to close.
One of the main problems in Scotland is that not enough has been spent on grass roots golfing. More money is required to be spent to encourage youngsters to play so that it continues to be popular with both young and older players. A great deal of progress has been made over the years with regards attracting more women playing the game but a lot more work is required if it is ever to become a mainstream sport for female competitors. Unless action is taken, this great sport is going to continue to see a downward spiral so hopefully, the governing bodies around the world can work together to take the thing to the next level and stop the fall in interest in one of the world oldest sports.