UNDATED – The game of golf is losing some of the popularity it enjoyed as early as 10 years ago. According to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek, the game has lost 1.1 millioin players, or a 24 percent drop in players of the game since it’s highmark in 2002. And it says the number of players is lower now that it was in 1990 despite the fact that the nation has grown by 27 million people. The number of golf courses has plummeted as well. Only 14 new courses were built last year, while about 160 shut down, according to the National Golf Foundation. As recently as 2008 there were 17,672 courses in the United States, but the number has dropped for eight straight years; by the end of 2013 there were only 14,564.5. There are several reasons for the game’s decline in the Bloomberg report. First, it is frustratingly difficult to master. Second it is time-consuming with a round of 18 holes taking more than four hours in some cases not including travel time to and from the course. And it’s expensive. Golf viewership is also down. This spring only 7.8 percent of U.S. television households tuned in to watch the Masters tournament, the lowest rating since 2004 and a 24 percent decline from last year.
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