A focus group will hold a meeting on November 10th at 5:30 pm at the Scovill Golf Course to discuss the state of golf, challenges and efforts to “right size”, and options for the future. Decatur’s golf courses continue to lose money and efforts to generate interest in golf, which has waned considerably 10-20 years, haven’t succeeded.
The Decatur Park District currently has three golf courses: Red Tail Run, Hickory Point, and Scovill. I don’t know what options are being considered but it’s possible that closing one of the golf courses is on the table. So, which one, hypothetically speaking, should that be? I don’t know.
Admittedly, I’m not a golfer. The only course I’ve ever played was Wildwood, which became Red Tail. As a family we go miniature golfing once in a while but that’s mostly as an excuse to eat at Cherry Berry. I don’t think golf even crosses people’s minds much anymore. Who on a Sunday afternoon thinks about golf as something to do? I never have. Just like I wouldn’t think about quilting or churning butter, golf just doesn’t seem to fit in with the modern world for whatever reasons. So what does fit in?
From a 2013, Outdoor Participation Report, conducted by the Outdoor Foundation, the outdoor activities that Americans are participating in have a lot to do with water sports and fitness. Stand-up paddling, board sailing, kayaking, rafting are all on the top of the list with adventure racing, jogging, trail running, climbing, and bicycling amongst many others. Golf didn’t even make the list as an outdoor recreation activity in the report.
I have noticed when I travel that stand-up paddling is very popular as are many other water sports. Too bad we can’t attach wheels to the bottom of the boards and golf with them. So, I guess it’s good news if we want to market Lake Decatur as a recreation destination but it still doesn’t help our golf courses – unless we flood them.
Golf courses across the nation are experiencing a decline in interest. It isn’t just a Decatur thing. I’ve seen glow-in-the-dark golf advertised and all kids of gimmicks. Decatur has tried different things too. Maybe nude golfing would raise someone’s interest but considering the average age of a golfer is over 65, I don’t think so. I think it’s just come time to realize that golf just isn’t that interesting anymore and begin focusing on outdoor activities people are interested in.
I’m not going to suggest or support anything yet until I hear the options.