""Lapsed golfers

The most common golfer is an ex-golfer. American studies suggest that there are 3- 4 ex-golfers for each active player. Many quit because golf takes too much time.

Golf churn rate in the USAMillions of golf clubs gather dust in closets

Between 2005 and 2010 22,4 million people in the US started playing golf. In the same period, some 26,1 million quit playing golf. The first six months of 2013, the number of golf rounds in the US was down 9,7% compared to 2012. Bad weather is part of the explanation.

Where could we find the new golfers?

US PGA asked one of the more prominent US management consulting companies to find out which changes most affect golf and golf players in the US. They came back with a strategy aimed at three categories.

  • Stop the exodus of present golf club members
  • Lure back lapsed golfers - a very great potential
  • Attract new players

The main reason people quit playing golf is that it takes too long time. Other factors are that golf is relatively expensive - which the golf industry tries hard to make even more expensive - and that it is a game that it is quite hard to master when you become an occasional golfer. In that respect, Golf isn't quite like riding your bike.

Some voices from ex-Golfers

We bought four new sets, but our kids who are in their 20:s soon tired. The clubs are now in the garage

I took some lessons but never got the time to really start. That was a few years ago.

We were a bunch of guys who met each year and played golf, but since most of us got families that sizzled out.

This year I have played one round, it is time to leave the Club. I was a member since my childhood.

I had to manage my expenses, and there was no longer room for golf.

Sponsors who quit

There is a relation between the shrinking or stagnant number of golf rounds in many countries and the willingness of companies to sponsor a Golf Club. This can also be observed in the market for Business Golf events. One solution could be shorter formats that take less time.

As many golfers change their relation to golf forcing Golf Clubs to develop their attractiveness, sponsor relationships most likely also need some rethinking. Obviously it depends on the situation and many factors.

Lapsed golfers

Another vanishing golfer


A shrinking or stagnant golf market forces the golf business to become more professional in terms of business models, performance and leadership.