A little more than 10 years ago, we had a teaching program and we’d do extremely well.
We had close to five full-time teachers and all the instructors would be happy and have their schedules full. You’d work hard to make a living and feel you were rewarded for it and the facility did great because people were coming.
I’d work from 12 noon until 9 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break and I’d be full five days a week. There wasn’t a lot of waiting around and there wasn’t a lot of down time. You were there to work and there was plenty of it.
Nowadays, the season seems shorter than it was, but at the same time, we’re not full like we were back then. It’s been quite a few years like this, so the turnaround happened quickly, going from rainbows and butterflies to locusts.
We’re at the point where we have to call it and say it isn’t a blip anymore. It’s the new reality, but staying on a positive note, there’s that hope and dream that you’re going to have another bubble in which things get rosy again.
I think, out here, the demographics of who plays the game are changing.
The baby boomers are starting to be replaced by younger people, but where you used to have a lot of people play the game three or four times a week, now they’re playing once a week or once every week-and-a-half.
They’ve got other commitments and young families. I’ve said this before and some agree and some don’t, but I think the challenges facing young people started when money got cheap to borrow.
If this was 20 years ago and you were 25, you didn’t own a house. Nowadays, money is cheap and you can have a home. Go back four to six years ago, when prices here were high, but not ridiculous, younger people could own a home.
When you do that, some of your disposable income goes away and if it was used for golf, now maybe it’s being used to build a new fence or paint or put a new roof on a house.
The combination of the economy in general not being superb and the fact that people are in a housing market that historically they haven’t been in makes money tight.
You see that with private club memberships. It’s pretty hard to get new members because their money is elsewhere.
I have a friend who was a dentist and he’d tell me that he’d see kids up until they were about 23 or so and graduating from university, then he wouldn’t see them again until they were in their 30s and had dental plans at work.
You’d like to think that maybe, at some point, these young people will start to get a little more comfortable financially and return to golf.