GOLF IS IN A DIFFICULT POSITION: According to the National Golf Foundation, golf lost roughly one million players between 2009 and 2010, shrinking from about 27 million to around 26 million golfers nationwide. As discretionary income evaporates in the face of a lagging economy, fewer people can afford memberships at private clubs.
While the figures may look grim, the challenges created by a tough economy may be exactly the kind of opportunity the golf industry needs to reboot its elitist image and broaden its appeal to more diverse players spanning all ages and skill levels. Fortunately, the Professional Golf Association of America's new player development strategy, dubbed Golf 2.0, seeks to accomplish exactly this.
While the goal of strengthening the industry by increasing membership is hardly a new concept, the PGA's recent appointment of Darrell Crall as senior director of Golf 2.0 represents a commitment to increasing golf's appeal and accessibility to younger players. During his time as executive director of the Northern Texas PGA, Crall managed to grow the section's assets by a factor of 15--all the while initiating groundbreaking programs geared toward increasing youth involvement in the sport. Programs like Help-A-Kid Play Golf and Golf in Schools reached out to some 300,000 students in inner-city schools in Texas, and will likely serve as a model for Golf 2.0's goal of reaching out to …