Study Outlines Why Golfers Leave the Game

A study that included feedback from 14,420 U.S. respondents determined that time, cost and difficulty are the three biggest reasons golfers leave the game.

Research on "Saving the Game" was conducted by Frankly Golf. The results will be presented at the World Scientific Congress of Golf in Room B at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 25, on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. Frankly Golf is headed by Frank Thomas, former USGA technical director and author of the recently released book, "Just Hit It." Dr. Bob Christina and Eric Alpenfels will present the findings.

"Our study was the first major effort to find out what people love about golf and why they leave it," Thomas said.

The results of the study will be presented not only at Tuesday's Congress but are also featured in the final chapter of Thomas's book, which was released in February. Like this study, "Just Hit It" is dedicated largely to the idea of saving a game that's seen an alarming decrease in participation recently.

The goal of the study, commissioned by The Little Family Foundation, was to examine what motivates and interests golfers about the game, with an eye toward making it more enjoyable for a wide range of golfers.

Results from the study showed that most golfers prefer to play golf courses that are shorter than those presently being designed. In general, golfers overestimated the distance they drive the ball by 30 yards or more - the study found that the average male golfer drives the ball 192 yards, and the average female drives it 145 yards.

"We wanted to find out more about the skills and abilities of golfers," Thomas said. "Maybe the ball is not going far enough for the majority - 95-plus percent - of the golfing population, or the course design and length are inappropriate. From our results we can see that good shots and the challenge that golf presents as well as our connection with the golf course environment are most important to golfers. It is this we need to nourish and promote."

"Just Hit It" helps promote these ideals. The book is a user-friendly account that shares the author's expert opinions on equipment, the effect of marketing on the game, returning golf to its core values and, most importantly, saving the game loved by so many. The book is a collection of Thomas's candid sharing of his extensive knowledge gained through 26 years as USGA technical director, in addition to his time as design engineer at Shakespeare Sporting Goods, where he invented the graphite shaft.

For more information on Frankly Golf, visit For details about the World Scientific Congress of Golf, visit