The Future of Golf
Producer: Nick Dolin
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the golf industry saw its popularity soar and business boom. Thanks in part to superstar Tiger Woods, young and old alike were drawn to the sport like never before, as evidenced by strong TV ratings, raucous crowds, a retail explosion, and most of all, a massive building boom that saw roughly 5,000 golf courses built over nearly two decades.
Most observers and industry executives agree that the bubble has officially burst, and the golf business is slowly dying. Over the last eight years, participation is down 20% nationwide and more courses have closed than opened in the U.S. annually. Industry leaders believe drastic measures are needed to ensure the future of the sport. Among the proposals are a 15-inch cup, versus the traditional four and one-quarter-inch hole, an entertaining driving range game called Top Golf, and Foot Golf, which is golf played on a regular course, but with a soccer ball. Host Bryant Gumbel speaks with industry leaders, including Jack Nicklaus, the most decorated golfer of all time, about the state of the sport and what needs to be done quickly to save it.