"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented."
Golf's been called a lot of things: alluring, baffling, gratifying, addictive, wonderful, ridiculous, confounding, fascinating, aggravating. Never has a single pasttime found so many applications for the entries of Mr. Webster's and Mr. Roget's tomes. Regardless of your own personal opinion of the game, there is no denying golf's popularity. Need some facts and stats?
Chew on this: Canada has the most golfers per capita of any country in the world. More than the USA, more than Scotland, more than Ireland or England. Canada - a country whose golf season spans a little over half the calendar year due to our northerly clime.
The National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) recently commissioned a report to try and determine golf's impact across the country.
The groundbreaking study determined that an estimated six million people in Canada play golf each year with two and a half million Canadians participating as core golfers, playing an average of 28 rounds per year. Based on participation, golf is the number one recreation activity in Canada, played by more Canadians than hockey.
The NAGA study also found that golf courses and stand-alone driving ranges earned gross revenues of $4.7 billion in 2008. Compare that to other sectors: gross revenues at "skiing facilities" were just under $1 billion in 2006 while "fitness and recreational centres" topped out at $1.7 billion.
Golf courses also earned more operating revenues than "promoters of performing arts and sports" ($1.9 billion in 2007) and "spectator sports" ($2.4 billion in 2007), which includes the gross revenues earned by the National Hockey League!
As impressive as all these numbers and stats are however, the golf industry is far from healthy. And it's not any one thing that seems to ail it.
It's another cold, grey day in Whistler and it seems like summer is never going to arrive. Hell, did we even have a spring? It's not exactly the nicest golf weather. It's not exactly the nicest weather for anything outside, quite frankly. On the heels of a long winter, it's been a challenge for golf operators to get their courses ready for our all too short golf season. Near opening day, it was estimated that they were three weeks to a month behind where they normally are in terms of course growth.