Shackelford, Wall Street Journal, Forbes

Geoff Shackelford has some good commentary on a couple of Millennials-Won’t-Play-Golf-Boo-Hoo articles.  I’d suggest reading the two articles he references before reading his remarks.  Read the WSJ article first, then the Forbe’s one.  The Forbe’s one is completely asinine; there is such an absence of journalistic logic these days.

Shackelford points out a lot of the nonsense, but I would add this:  The authors make the claim that millennials don’t like golf because it’s not “inclusive” and the millennials are the “most inclusive generation.”

There is no way the millennials are any more “inclusive” than the baby boomer flower children were.  As Shackelford points out, it’s all about age.  A lot of people, like me, didn’t take up golf until they were grown.  And I really didn’t start playing a lot until I was pushing 40.  Even at that, my life with filled with many multi-year “vacations” from golf.  There is nothing magical about the Millennials.  Their golfing life will follow a similar arc.

I also believe this: golf is way more inclusive than most sports.  Babe Didrickson Zaharias, Annika Sorenstam, and Michelle Wie all played events on the men’s tour.  I guess I’m having a problem remembering when a woman last played in the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL.  And the LPGA must surely be the oldest women’s professional sports organization.  What else could it be?  Tennis, maybe.  Can anyone remember going to a golf course and NOT seeing a bunch of women?  I often encounter high school girls golf tournaments at two of the courses I frequent.

Anyway, this is about more than golf to me.  It seems the real purpose of both pieces was to say, “Yay, millennials, they’re inclusive, yay!”  Golf was just a convenient way to do it.  It’s more like they are pushing some kind of political agenda than writing about any any kind of trend in golf.  There are just too many sloppy logical errors, the kind you find in political propaganda.

Golf’s not going away.  It’s too much fun to play.  If anyone seriously thought it was going to be bigger than the NFL, they were deluded.  The only real exclusion in golf is financial, but that’s part of the appeal.  You go to a free “inclusive” concert in a park, and you may find yourself surrounded by a bunch of foul-mouthed drunks who sell meth or crack to get spending money.  Once you find some career success, you can go to a golf course — and I am not talking about some high-dollar course — and find a better class of people.  Once millennials gain economic stability, they are going to turn just as “exclusive” as any other generation. Golf is aspirational, at least for people who came to the game the way I did.

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