Getting out of the house and onto the tee is a Cool Golf Thing

Who knew it would take a pandemic to #GrowTheGame?
A packed Chelsea Piers driving range plays host to hopeful handfuls of new golfers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

I've long thought that growing the game of golf, given the late-2000s recession and an increasingly digital world, would be a slow, gradual though ultimately fruitful process. But the coronavirus pandemic, of all things, has made me question that position a little bit.

On Thursday, the National Golf Foundation reported that juniors and adults are both taking up and returning to the game at a 20% higher rate so far in 2020 than over the same interval in 2018 and 2019. While most of America remains cautious about spending much time in public due to the threat of COVID-19, golf has started to look more and more interesting as a safe diversion. Occasional surveys of my friends Instagram feeds have turned up more photos and video clips from a golf course or driving range than I recall seeing in the past. A fraternity brother of mine who didn't play much golf when we were in college has recently been sending me videos of his own forays into golf at a packed Chelsea Piers range in New York.

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The growth of Youth On Course

Turning people from non-golfers to golfers has always struck me as a much bigger challenge than keeping them interested once they get into it. The essence of the game doesn't change much over time - thank goodness - but the circumstances surrounding people making the step into the game have changed in a big, strange way in the last four months. It's a little moribund to think that a global health crisis has, in a roundabout way, helped the golf industry, so I'd rather remain grateful about every new convert to the game I and millions of others love. If you're new to golf, let me know what you think of it so far, either in the comments or on Twitter.

March 22, 2019
300 words or less, every Friday.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
2 Comments
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What is great about golf is - you can do it no matter how old you get, where most sports as we age are out of the question. I am in my 8O's now & still enjoying the game very much.

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Respectfully, you can play all sports no matter what your age. With golf, like all other sports/games, one experiences diminishing skill, but if you enjoy it, you still play it. You have to look, but there are sport leagues designed for people over 65 all over the country or if you prefer, you can play with the younger participants. For example, the national organization Men's Senior Baseball League holds a tournament every October/November in Arizona and now has tournament brackets for 55+, 60+, 65+, 70+ and 73+.

Not trying to knock you at all, I am just pointing out that anyone can do whatever they still want to do. As with golf, it is not as easy as it used to be, but the opportunities are still there.

I am glad to see you playing into your 80s.

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Getting out of the house and onto the tee is a Cool Golf Thing