In the first decade of the new millennium, the Czech Republic experienced an unprecedented golf boom, with new golf courses cropping up all around the country. However, over the past five years, golf has experienced a steady decline.
The decline of golf players has had a huge impact on shops offering golf gear and equipment. The biggest store of its kind in the Czech Republic, Golf Profi, filed for insolvency just this month.
“It is hard to maintain the quality of services. The dropping number of golfers complicates the situation for both large and small shops offering golf equipment,” Tomáš Milata of Golf Brothers told the daily Hospodářské noviny.
The web site Golfparada.cz, which monitors the number of golf players at tournaments, confirms the recent trend. According to their data, a little over 30,000 golfers took part in official competitions last year, compared to 33,000 four years ago.
According to the daily Hospodářské noviny, one of the reasons behind the decline of golf is the onset of electric bicycles and electric scooters.
Many people also prefer to buy their equipment in second-hand stores, which offer considerably lower prices.
“Prices of golf equipment remain high, which makes it competitive with other sports,” Květa Dolanská, owner of Golf Center store, told the daily.
Owners of both brick and mortar shops and internet stores confirmed that for many customers, golf is no longer the number one sport.
“There are fewer people who play golf on a daily basis. That is linked to their willingness to spend money on their pastime. When they only play from time to time, they only buy basic gear and then come in for accessories, such as golf balls,” Petr Čapka, co-owner of Golf Plus, told the daily, adding that their annual turnover had dropped by around ten percent on the previous year.
According to Hospodářské noviny, Czech golf stores can find a way out of the crisis by targeting foreign markets.
For instance the company Golf Brothers continues to grow despite stagnating sales in the Czech Republic, thanks to the German and Polish markets.
Czechs are not the only nation gradually losing interest in golf. For example in the United States, the number of golf players has dropped by six million since 2006.