Although there are signs that the economic malaise of the past few years is either in the rear-view mirror or about to be, some are concerned that it is still struggling on certain counts.  Although the unemployment rate continues to plummet, a record number of people are no longer in the U.S. workforce.  Median family income continues to lag, and although the number of jobs created is impressive, most of these are low-paying service jobs.  In the face of this, what future does golf have? The answer might surprise you – a good one.  You might be skeptical, saying that I have a biased interest in skewing the facts.  Well, direct from the National Golf Foundation are these encouraging words:  “Interest in playing golf is at an all-time high with an estimated 37 million non-golfers saying they are interested in taking up the game. And roughly 20 percent may already be making their first moves.”  The report goes on to say, “Golf’s overall reach is impressive. An estimated 81 million, including 62 million non-golfers, watched golf on TV in 2015 while 27 million read about the game in traditional or electronic media.  One out of three Americans – about 95 million – played golf on a golf course or alternate venue, watched on TV or read about it in 2015.” The emergence of young stars like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Rickie Fowler are helping to fuel this interest and growth, but so are cool and hip facilities like Top Golf.  And contrary to popular opinion, there are many young people and millennials who actually want to do an activity other than stare into a computer or smartphone screen.  People are social creatures, and although social media is great for keeping in touch with our friends, nothing beats personal interaction, and we get that on a golf course.  Another factor is the U.S. continues to add population, so it’s only a matter of time before we see a real explosion in participation. The business of golf is not perfectly healthy, of course, but it is healthy.  And that bodes well for current and future teachers of the game. By: Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director, Ridgeland, SC    
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