Golf Industry Struggles as Millennials Ditch the Links

The future of golf in the United States is dim due to a glaring lack of interest by the millennial generation. The reasons why young people don't golf? It's all about the green -- money, not grass.

What's the Latest?

Sound the alarms, everybody. The golf industry is in crisis mode. Dick's Sporting Goods recently laid off 478 PGA pros who worked in the company's golf shops. The company's CEO relayed news to a number of outlets that Dick's first-quarter sales were $34 million below projections and they don't think they've yet reached a nadir. The entire industry is struggling and it's not just because Tiger Woods is only a shell of his former self. What's got golf sitting in the rough? Its inability to attract millennialsForbes contributor Matt Powell has a post up on that site detailing exactly why millennials aren't buying what golf is selling.

What's the Big Idea?

While he does well to avoid the "kids these days" tone of the many idiotic analyses of millennial life, Powell does fall into the trap of relying on stereotypes to explain why young people won't golf. Golf is time-consuming and millennials are too used to instant gratification. Golf involves patience and millennials have no attention span. Golf is too complicated and millennials prefer Candy Crush. There's bits of truth to each of those, but Powell doesn't really get to the heart of the issue until near the end of the article when he delves into the exclusionary nature of golf culture.

The real reason golf doesn't appeal to millennials is because golf is a pastime associated with white plutocrats. Millennials came of age during an economic meltdown caused by white plutocrats. By and large, the only millennials who can afford to habitually play golf are white plutocrats themselves. Golf is prohibitively expensive to a generation crippled by unemployment and debt. Powell's argument that golf doesn't appeal to millennials' values only tells half the story.

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Photo credit: Blend Images / Shutterstock

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