Golf courses close nationwide as play declines

The SETX golf community reacts to course closures and fewer players.

The several in the Southeast Texas golf community said fewer golfers are getting on the course due to multiple reasons.

Many like Kelly High School Head Golf Coach Rob Lietzkey were surprised to hear about the closure of Bayou Din Golf course.

He said time, money and an overall lack of interest play a part in the decline in play.

The closure comes as Bloomberg reports 800 courses across the nation have shut down nationwide, partially due to fewer people playing.  

West Brook senior golfer Casey Quick started playing the game as a sophomore.

“I think it's something that teaches a lot of discipline and patience that teaches a lot of respect for other people,” Quick said. “Because you have to know when to talk, not talk, what to say.”

Lessons Quick and Lietzkey, also the golf pro at Beaumont Country Club, wish more young players would learn.
 

“Today we have senior golfers who quit playing golf because they aren't able to anymore,” Lietzkey said. “Well you have to replace those golfers. To do that you have to have younger golfers come in the game and introduce them to it.”

The coach, fresh off of a state championship with the Bulldogs, has noticed fewer youth players in tournaments.
 

“You look at junior tournaments we have here during the summer and participation is definitely down,” the coach said.

Quick believes many people, especially young people, are judging the game before picking up the clubs.

“I think they think it's boring,” Quick said. “I used to think it was boring too. But then I went out and played with my dad and loved it, I think you have to give it a try before you say you don't like it.”

The golf pro adds that not being able to dedicate four or five hours to a round of golf is another factor driving players away.

He said many athletes see the price tag of the game as a burden, instead of an investment for a game that can be played for a lifetime.

He admits the game today isn’t motivating players to get out and swing the clubs.     

“When Tiger Woods isn't playing golf, when he's popular, at the top of his game and you see him on TV on the weekends, That's what gets a lot of people excited about playing golf,” the golf pro said. “You have to find new ways to introduce players into the game.”

With more popular sports consuming athlete’s time, it’s harder to introduce new athletes to the game.

“You have to find new ways to introduce players to the game,” Lietzkey said.

Quick said it’s not the game or lessons learned but the people she meets along the way which fuels her love for the sport.

“Throughout the year we get really close,” the senior said. “There's not a lot of golfers at West Brook and going to practice every day, riding the bus together or having to share a car.”

A union of fun and friendship she plans to keep for a lifetime.

The Beaumont Country Club reports business is steady averaging 17,000 to 18,000 rounds a year.

But Henry Homberg Golf Course reports a steady decline in rounds per year. But as play declined, the average amount of rainfall per year increased.

Henry Homberg Golf Course

2013: 31,000 rounds per year; 46.9 " of rain

 

2014: 26,000 rounds per year; 52.4 " of rain

 

2015: 24,300 rounds per year;  65.4 " of rain

 

2016: 22,500 rounds per year, 69.8 " of rain.

 

 

(© 2016 KBMT)


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