Is Golf Just for the Elite?

The media storm of PXG – Parsons Xtreme Golf – set the tone for the high end golf market. Founder Bob Parsons told the world a full set of his clubs would cost around $5,000, and he didn’t mince his words. When Golf Magazine asked Parsons why he doesn’t list prices, he said, “I just tell people they’re expensive. Unless you expect to be spending some long green, these clubs aren’t for you.” Titleist then followed up a few months later with an announcement about their C16 driver and irons, which will likely cost $1,000 and $3,000 respectively. Miura, another club manufacturer from Japan, has always made clubs for the high-end market, with a set of irons running anywhere from $3,000 on up. And in the midst of all of this, Nike, whose products sat largely at the lower end of the market, announced that they will no longer produce clubs, balls, or golf bags.

Our Senior Editor James A. Frank wrote about this topic and said, “Face it: Rather than trying to position golf as a game for the masses, we need to accept that it’s more like polo, another activity that requires large amounts of time, specialized staging areas, expensive equipment, hours of practice, and manic devotion. We can, and should, do what we can to expose diverse segments of society to golf, but I’m fairly certain the game will remain the pursuit of an elite leisure class.” The high end of the golf market seems to be doing great while the “B” level clubs and equipment companies struggle.

Is it okay for golf to just be a sport for the wealthy? What about all of the efforts to grow the game? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments below!