Most of us picture golf as private golf clubs with old men making terrible fashion choices and smoking cigars. Now you too can match stripes with plaids and swing a club as golf has been re-invigorated by youth.
Tiger did it in 1997 by winning the Masters at the ripe young age of 20. The youth movement was on and continues this year with a 21 year old Masters champion Jordan Spieth. The PGA has their Seniors tour where the greats from the past still duff it out but the PGA Tour itself has been experiencing a youth movement with Spieth and 26 year old Rory Mcllroy who won the U.S open in 2011 at 22 leading the charge.
Most golfers have their own lines of clothing these days, that’s how popular it’s getting. Now tight fitting shirts and stylish slacks are the norm, since the players are in a bit better shape than they used to be. You don’t have to be old, you don’t have to wear knickers and, you don’t even have to know what knickers are to play golf these days.
There’s big money in this game. Jordan Speith is listed on the PGA website as having earned $5,087,996 as of April 26 just this year. Last year’s PGA Championships played at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, August 4-10, 2014 had a purse of $10 million with the winner, Rory Mcllroy grabbing $1.8 million of it.
Hail the King
The Masters, played at Augusta National Golf Club, used to come off as a stodgy old institution, way past its prime. Enter Tiger Woods in 1997and its popularity was reborn. Add in the controversy over the men’s only policy of the club and it has become a hot topic again. There are Masters Parties where everyone wears a green jacket and some even smoke cigars. The final round is aired live, not just on ESPN but on the networks and sports bars all over the world have all their TVs tuned in.
The Fans are Showing Up
Though Augusta doesn’t disclose attendance figures it is estimated they have 40,000 spectators a day on the course. 4 day badges to gain admission to the Masters originally went for $325 this year with Stub Hub selling them on the secondary market for over $5,000. That shows there’s definitely a bit of demand there.
The Price is Right
You no longer have to join a country club to get a tee time. Golf course construction has boomed for years with golf communities sprouting up everywhere. Not everyone plays the game but who wouldn’t want to live on a course? Unfortunately the sports’ main demographic is ageing and tee-times are not as coveted as in the past. If you can play during the week, you can get on most anywhere, sometimes for as cheap as $25 a round. With the average round taking 4 hours to complete, that’s a pretty good bang for your buck.
Dress Codes are a Thing of the Past
Private courses may have them, but the most restrictive a lot of courses are about dress codes is a no tank-top rule. Some may require collared shirts and long pants but most of us aren’t allowed there anyway. Most courses though do allow shorts though some request no t-shirts. Some may even ask what the heck you’re trying to pull if you do try to wear knickers.