Americans want to play golf — until they try it

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.35.08 AMBy Brian Costa | The Wall Street Journal

American golf should be growing rapidly. The sport is attracting more new players in the U.S. now than at any time since the early 2000s.

And yet, when the National Golf Foundation releases its annual participation report on Tuesday, it will show another decline in the number of people who played the game at least once in the last year.

These two contradictory trends may be the most telling indication of the state of the industry: Plenty of people are taking up the game for the first time, but very few of them are sticking with it. And according to the NGF, a leading research and consulting group, that is less an indictment of the game itself than of the operators of the country’s more than 15,000 courses.

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