While many revere golf as a hollowed, formal, and uncontaminated game, the reality is quite different. The vast majority of golfers regularly disregard the rules; 83% haven’t even read them. Many don’t even know what a handicap is; let alone how it is determined. And the majority are willing to play non-conforming equipment made by Polara and the like in an effort to maximize their enjoyment of the rigorous but popular game, according to an updated survey conducted by Google Consumer Surveys.
Based on more than 4,000 screened Internet respondents, here are five key findings:
- The number of people saying they would play more golf if the rules were more relaxed jumped 7% over last year to 32% this year.
- An overwhelming majority of golfers admit to bending the “official” USGA rules of the game: 54% of respondents said they “sometimes” take mulligans, gimme putts, and other popular infractions such as using a “foot wedge.” An additional 19% said they “always” bend the rules, while 27% claimed to have “never” broken the rules during play.
- An overwhelming majority of golfers view the game from a casual perspective and have no desire to follow the same standards as professionals when playing. Four in five players (82%) have never read the rules and don’t keep a handicap.
- A majority of golfers said they would consider playing golf equipment that was banned from professional play but allowed for recreational use, 54% to be exact.
- One in five Internet respondents play golf. When asked, 21% answered “yes” or “sometimes.”
The updated survey commissioned by Polara Golf comes as the game faces significant player abandonment and course closures across the nation over the last decade. Say what you will, but this failure is in large part due to the those factors that do not contribute to making the game more fun: for many golfers the USGA rules and restrictions on the technology of the equipment contribute directly the frustration golfers feel in trying to achieve a level of game enjoyment that makes them want to play more golf.
The USGA does a fine job regulating the game of golf at the highest levels, but they are outside of their jurisdiction when it comes to recreational golf. Recreational golfers are not engaged in serious tournament competition and thus play by an different but perfectly acceptable set of golf rules that help reduce play times, lower golfers scores and increase fun. Our Ultimate Straight balls and Advantage Drivers are highly engineered game-improvement equipment designed to inject more fun into the game for the majority of players who have no intention of adhering to demanding professional rules.
Methodology: Conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, September 18, 2013 – October 9, 2013. Based on 4,100 screened responses with 95% confidence. Sample: National adult Internet population.