Business Edge

By Adam BarrNovember 29, 2000, 5:00 pm
The latest:
NGF: GOLF SPENDING UP IN 1999: Golf in the United States is a $22 billion industry, and spending in 1999 was up 1.7 percent over 1998, says the National Golf Foundation in the 2000 edition of its annual Golf Consumer Spending in the U.S. study.
The study, which relies on 10,000 mail surveys, delves into seven categories: course fees (public and private), range balls (on-course and stand-alone), clubs, balls and soft goods (bags, gloves, shoes and related items). Fees dominate, as usual, accounting for 73 percent of total spending.
Among the winning categories, stand-alone range ball spending increased most, beating 1998 by 7.4 percent. Spending dropped in only two categories. Club sales were down 6.6 percent, which the NGF put off to sluggish consumer replacement cycles. A 3.7 percent dip in soft goods sales happened because of a down shoe market, the study said.
Behind the copious supply of numbers in the 14-page report is evidence of trends and truths in the American game. Some of these facts will be of interest to industry power brokers, many of whom convened for a conference on golf's future in the week before Thanksgiving.
The more people play, the more they spend. Golfers who play the most rounds - anyone who plays 25 or more rounds per year, by the NGF's definition - account for more than half of all golf spending. In 1999, they weighed in with 53 percent of the dollars. So-called moderate players (8-24 rounds per year) contributed 36 percent, and occasional players (1-7 rounds per year) kicked in only 11 percent. Pumping up rounds played, which have been relatively flat over the past few years, will be crucial for growth.
The longer people stay in the game, the more they spend. This should give pause to those who say golf loses as many people as it attracts each year. Golfers who have played the game for 20 years or more account for 38 percent of golf spending. From there, the percentages decline: Players with 10-19 years experience spend 30 percent of the dollars spent of golf; four-to-nine-year players spend 22 percent, and those who have played less than four years spend only 10 percent. If you buy the NGF's data, retention becomes even more important.
The rich help the industry get richer. Golfers from households with annual income of $75,000 or more contribute 53 percent to total domestic golf spending. (And as expected, they kick in the most in the private fees category.) Households in the $50,000-$74,999 range account for 23 percent, and under-$50,000 households spend 24 percent. No wonder major manufacturers charge - and get - high prices for premium clubs. But are the lower income categories fields for future growth? Keep an eye on the value-priced equipment segment in 2001.
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm