Dan Hafner is not accurate when he states that finding places to play golf in Southern California is “getting more difficult” and “figures to get much worse.”
The largest of the Southern California municipal systems, Los Angeles County, reports a loss of 194,000 rounds of golf for the fiscal year ending June 30. The same National Golf Foundation, quoted in Hafner’s column, reports that the total number of golfers nationwide declined 10.7% in 1991 and that new golfers, the lifeblood of future growth, dropped dramatically in 1991 and 1992. It is simply easier to secure tee times and tournament bookings in 1993 than it has been in many years.
The reasons are simple. While wages, sales, profits, employment, interest rates and real property values have plunged in the 1990s, the price of public golf has exploded. On Oct. 1, L.A. County will have raised its weekday green fee rate a whopping 55% in the last 21 months. Municipal golf courses are fast becoming publicly owned playgrounds for the privileged.
Public Affairs Chairman,
Public Links Golf Assn.