Golf seeing boost in popularity, not in play

Most people don’t exactly consider Scarborough a hot bed for golf. But don’t tell that to those most closely associated with the sport.

Greater Toronto Area Golf Association president Glenn Goodwin finds that the popularity of golf in Scarborough and throughout Canada is at an all-time high.

“With the use of the internet and sports specialty channels, golf has never been as popular,” Goodwin said. “There are just so many people reading about it online and watching it on television.”

The only problem is that the number of people playing the sport is down.

“It’s funny that the popularity of the game is so high, but participation is so low,” Goodwin said. “I’ve definitely noticed that people don’t have the time or money since the economy has gone down.”

Denis Matte, general manager of the Scarboro Golf and Country Club agrees with the statement, though membership renewals suggest otherwise.

“Though we’ve had double the number of memberships purchased for this year, I agree with Glenn,” Matte said. “We just don’t see people coming to the course all the time like they used to.”

GOLF FACTS

  • Scarboro Golf and Country Club was founded in 1912
  • ScoreGolf.com ranked Scarboro Golf and Country Club 49th on its best golf course list of 2010, the only course from Scarborough
  • The Greater Toronto Area Golf Association was founded in 1998 by Glenn Goodwin.
  • Any golf course/club within 98 kilometres of Toronto can affiliate itself with the GTAGA by paying an annual $50 fee, in addition, to meeting several requirements.
  • Golfer Jack Nicklaus’ “Golf 2.0” looks to tackle problems such as difficulty, length of time, and costs deterring the future of golf.
  • Read about how to adapt the game of golf to Scarborough in our second edition of the Scarborough Observer News Magazine.

Scarboro Golf and Country Club has garnered 42 new or renewal memberships for this golf season, more than double what they’ve gotten in past years.

But Matte says the number of memberships sold for this year has more to do with the club’s use of promotions and aggressive pricing.

Matte and Goodwin both find that participation in golf is down for a number of reasons.

The difficulty of the sport, the length of time to play a round, and the cost of playing are usual culprits that keep newcomers away from the sport, they say.

“Although golf is such an international game, a lot of newcomers to Canada just don’t have the time or money to play golf,” Matte said. “You can say that for Scarborough because of their high number of immigrants.”

Even with participation in golf hitting the rough, Matte and Goodwin believe there are a number of ways they can improve the sport to better suit the lives of Scarborough residents.

They just hope it doesn’t change the game they love too much.