in Life

Why I gave up golf (and why toccer is better…)

After a NY Times story citing that More Americans Are Giving Up Golf, is apparently a trend:

The disappearance of golfers over the past several years is part of a broader decline in outdoor activities — including tennis, swimming, hiking, biking and downhill skiing — according to a number of academic and recreation industry studies.

It’s not that hard to understand. Golf isn’t active enough and not only that, but it’s expensive. The sport has prided itself on its elite roots and by intentionally shielding itself from people without monied backgrounds.

To this day, the most fun I’ve ever had on the golf course is at the Par-3 course at the public course near my home. I got a membership to the semi-private course in my hometown for my birthday one year, but I wasn’t really committed enough to the game to get out there and play then. I’d be better at it now, but the game itself is too sedentary for my lifestyle.

Growing up playing tennis, I enjoy playing a sport and truly feeling like I did something out there. Golf doesn’t offer me that. I think if I had friends who played the game nearby or something along those lines, it might be better.

But the sport’s outreach needs to be double that of any other sport, because it’s not only too expensive to play for the average person, but it takes a very long time to gain the skills to be more than just a hack.

It’s no different than what’s happened to baseball in recent years, as the game moved away from the sandlot and increasingly to manicured fields and semi-professional travel teams. Kids being left out of these sports are no different than those being left out of sports like basketball for different reasons.

One of the things I wanted to be sure of when we created tennis polo was to be sure to make it a sport that kids anywhere could play. Racquets aren’t hard to find generally, tennis balls are just dog toys and that’s all you need to play really. Even still, soccer goals are easy to find too, as are fields. That’s it.

Doesn’t require any money or special equipment and you don’t even necessarily need a team to go out and work on individual skills. You and your racquet on the field can easily work on drills and skills aimed at making yourself better at the sport. Toccer is just a sport where you can consistently get better, there are no “Michael Jordans” of Toccer, so you can immediately work to reinvent the levels of where the sport goes.

Another reason why I think the sport had so much success early on. Because when kids get out there and play, no one has any preconceived notions about superiority.

Whether or not it’ll translate into lasting success is anyone’s guess. But it’s something that was prominent from the start related to how to make a sport grow or at least, providing a foundation for its growth.