Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Skills of a Hard Core Golfer

There are a number of ways to define a hard-core golfer, ranging from rather formal definitions from golf industry sources to more informal descriptions. It's fair to say, however, all of the definitions are similar in nature -- a hard-core golfer is someone who plays a lot of golf. A typical hard-core golfer also buys plenty of golf equipment, takes golf vacations, watches the pros on TV or in person and may or may not bore his spouse or his friends to tears with his exploits on the links.
Given the fanaticism of fervent golfers, it is fitting that the dictionary definition of "hard core" leads with a reference to golf. The Free Dictionary defines hard core as intensely loyal or die-hard. The first two examples of hard core are as follows: "a hard-core secessionist; a hard-core golfer."
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Avid Golfers
The industry term for hard-core golfer is an avid or core golfer, which is defined as a golfer who plays 25 rounds or more per year, or spends more than $1,000 per year on golf equipment. Although only about 23 percent of all golfers qualify as avid or core golfers -- roughly 6 million of the more than 24 million golfers -- these hard-core players account for about 63 percent of annual golf spending. These are the golfers who play 36 holes per day on a jaunt to Myrtle Beach or brave the winds and rain at Bandon Dunes in Oregon in the autumn just for the experience.
Informal Definitions
Dry statistics don't address the passion of the hard-core golfer. A site such as a Facebook page for "Hardcore Golf Guys and Girls" does that job quite well. According to the site, you know you are a hard-core golfer if you: can tell who a PGA Tour player is just from his golf swing; have paid to play golf when the temperature is lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or it is raining -- or both; your clubs always are in your trunk; you know where Bushwood Country Club is -- for the uninitiated, it's the course featured in "Caddyshack"; and when people ask how often you play, you say, "Per week?"
The golf business is in something of a slump at the time of publication, and industry leaders are desperate to retain hard-core golfers and attract more. The best prospects are minority golfers, who are taking up the game in larger numbers. Industry leaders also are trying to resolve certain issues that discourage people from taking up the sport and/or becoming hard-core regulars -- the high cost of playing, the amount of time it take to play 18 holes and the intimidation factor for new players.

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