Saturday, December 05, 2015

The sport of Golf is suffering from generational and social change - nowhere worse than in Japan

Japan’s golf courses are closing at the rate of nearly one a week.

Gone are the days when playing golf was all about social status, a 'must have' skill for the aspiring young executive. The days when 5 hours out of a weekend spent bashing a little white ball around is now the preserve of the old and in Japan this group play mid week and play less as physical ageing catches up with their dreams of being Tiger Woods.

In the 1990s there were nearly 14 million Japanese playing golf. This number has halved.

The UK has the same trend - I don't know the numbers but I do know that golf courses - other than the top half a dozen - are trying (and not succeeding) at broadening their customer base to the young and women.

I guess all activities have their heyay and then decline. Even golf, although this example is probably one of the best of where the intersection of demographic and social change can result in a market rupture.

Apparently in Japan, alternative energy investors are buying up the disused courses and converting them into solar farms. Somehow I think this type of venture will last only a fraction of the time of golf.  The speed of technological change is orders of magnitude faster than that of demographic and social change. Dick Stroud

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