BOSTON (CBS) – The economy has taken a toll on many areas of the country and the game of golf is no different as fewer people are playing. However, there are other factors that both public courses and even private country clubs are dealing with so that golf gets out of the rough and onto the green.

It still helps to call ahead for a tee time but more people just walk in and play. Golf courses are no longer crowded. The National Golf Foundation says golf grew from 28.8 million to 30 million players from 2000 to 2005. However it’s now just 26.1 million.

That translates to billions of dollars in lost revenue. Robert Carey of Cambridge’s Fresh Pond Public Course says it’s not just the economy. People simply don’t have the time to get out on the course anymore.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

And, he says, golf missed an opportunity during the Tiger Woods era to get suburban kids into golf.

That’s why golf loves Matthew. Single, mid-20’s, good job and he wants to play:

Is golf’s problem just a matter of upper versus middle class? Golf Pro Jeff Barnes of Watertown’s Oakley Country Club says private courses have seen a drop in rounds played and, yes, they are targeting young professionals.

Jeff says private courses can offer opportunities that public courses can’t, like 4 hour time limits to speed up the game, not force them off the course but to make it more accessible. This day Jeff was overseeing Oakley’s junior program, another way to grow the game. Robert Carey says one can start the game for as little as $500, when you factor in equipment and lessons.

So if you can stand a few hooks, slices and putts that slide by the cup, golf will welcome you with open arms.


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