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Average Joe

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I read an interview of a golf consultant in a magazine the other day. She said that 80% of men shoot above 96 on a par 72 course and 80% of women shoot above 112. She thinks that people who build golf courses are often good golfers themselves and tend not to consider the average player, but what they and their expert friends like in a golf course. Her advice was to make courses easier so average golfers can have a better time when they play there and want to return.

I thought it was an interesting spin on how to make a sport accessible to average players. I think skiing has the same degree of difficulty as golf--the movement patterns are hard to execute accurately and consistently in all situations and so much hinges on self-confidence. Still, there is a very big difference between golf and skiing:

If the literature about golf would fill a large room, the literature about skiing would fill a large cardboard box. Why is that? Don't average skiers read? In fact, aren't a lot of average skiers also average golfers--the biggest buyers of golf books?

What do you think accounts for this mysterious bibliographical bias?
post #2 of 21
There are more golfers than skiers.
Golf gets more air time on the boob tube (way more).
Golf professionals have better agents than professional skiers.

[ December 03, 2003, 03:25 AM: Message edited by: BillA ]
post #3 of 21
It's the market and the cause I'm thinking is one word: Weather.

Skiing's prime season is 3 months in most places; decent for 5 at most places; and up to 7 decent months at a few places. You can golf year round in a lot of places.

You can also golf some time during the year in pretty much every state. Decent skiing can be found in 15 states and some skiing in about 30.

The whole business deals being done on the golf course doesn't hurt either.

A good stat would be percentage of skiers vs golfers that read their sport's respective literature; or number of skiers or golfers vs. publications.

To many golf is purely a sport, which I would think would lend itself to plenty of literature on technique and equipment. Skiing to many is a getaway, an outdoor endeavour, a social event, or an adventure. Literature informs in regard to these aspects but probably isn't necessary for many who choose skiing for these reasons. To simplify there are probably more regular golfers than regular skiers. Think of how many people ski one day or one week a year, but how many golfers just golf one day or one week a year?
post #4 of 21
The "commute". I live about five to ten minutes away from four golf courses. You can roll outa' bed and tee off anytime. The drive to a ski area in most "metro burbs" is an hour and a half to two hours.

Golf is warm ... skiing is cold.

Golf is relatively passive .... skiing very active. Most of my "avid" ski friends now play golf (in our 50's). Uniformly, they don't want to "risk an injury".

We don't have little carts to take us to the "prime spots" ... but the idea of a "ski caddy" ain't half bad (at least you tip a caddy ) .... a dual snowcat with a "bag o' boards" ... "now Mr. Scott, I'd use the mid-fats for this particular section, but watch that icy break to the right" .. :
post #5 of 21
I see more boarders than skiers anymore, and knuckledraggers don't read. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
What do you think accounts for this mysterious bibliographical bias?
Sport identity. Golf is activly promoted on every layer and to every person as something they can do that is 'high class' but within their reach. Snow sports are sold as dangerous and 'selct few' even by the Warren Miller types. You don't see many folks in their mid fifties taking up skiing even though many of the top resorts have areas they could enjoy easily. The concept isn't sold or promoted.
post #7 of 21
At a high level of abstraction, there may be some link between the precision required in golf and in skiing movements.

However, from the point of view of any given person considering taking up one of these sports, I don't see any connection whatsoever between golf and sport, except that they are both expensive (and to a large extent exclusive).

Golf is one of the least active sports around. I think chess may burn up more calories. Of course I admire the people who have the precision and perseverance to get really good at it. I'm not trying to put the sport down, even if I'm not interested in it. But it's nothing like skiing, which is one of the most active adventure sports. That doesn't mean it's impossible to like them both - but it may be for different reasons.

I'd rather draw parallels between golf and fishing and between skiing and mountain climbing respectively.
post #8 of 21
I have skied and golfed since boyhood and rough guess would be that my number of days on a ski slope and on a golf course are fairly close over my lifetime. IMHO recreational skiing is definitely much easier than recreational golfing. Maybe not the best analogy, but skiing is a large motor skill like running, golf is a technical skill like bowling or even darts. People read/research more about golf because it is tougher to reach the advanced recreational level. Also, golf has the score keeping/handicap/competition aspect, average recreational skiing is mindless fun. People may be more motivated to seek advice on improving when there is a universal figure of merit. Above discussion excludes olympic level winter atheletes, where the technical aspects of skiing are admittedly very complex. BTW I like golf, I love skiing.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Cedric:
I'd rather draw parallels between golf and fishing and between skiing and mountain climbing respectively.
I was thinking the same thing. My parents are both avid Fishermen and Golfers. Though getting up in age they still can do both. ( doubt either of them could walk a mile without resting.) For my parents golf is more than a sport it is a chance to hang out with their friends. I think of golf as much more social than skiing. I know for at least my parents that is the draw these days.

Although someone said golf is expensive, there are many public courses near my house that cost very little to play. For newcomers to Golf you can go to a small public course and not worry much about your skill level. Why do golfers read more? Only a guess, golf is sedentary while skiing is anything but. I would rather do than read. Reading about skiing in this forum is different in that it is interactive.
post #10 of 21
Good topic nolo. I ski about 35 days a season and would do more if I could. I also play golf about 6 months out of the year, and although I like it, I find that to be enough. I feel I am a better skier than golfer (mid to high 80's) although it's much easier to measure your ability as a golfer. I like golf alot, but skiing is a passion. I don't read too much golf literature because I find much of it boring, incomplete and there seem to be so many different opinions on how to do it correctly.
Some of the ski literature is also very dry and technical and poorly illustrated. I am currently reading "Ski the Whole Mountain" by Eric DesLauries (E-Ski) and find it to be an interesting read, well illustrated, with a passion for skiing that speaks to me. It's one of the few books I have read lately that doesn't make me feel like I'm studying for something. Just good info that's easy to understand.

Bonni, I have been really noticing the increase in knuckledraggers at Crystal Mt. On opening day they were about 60% of the people on the hill. :
post #11 of 21
I think most skiers that have evolved beyond novice levels have read a number of technique articles in ski magazines and books. Certainly they have used some of that to improve their own technique and style in various ways. But there comes a point at about the upper intermediate level where I have seen very little literature that was useful beyond tips for Average Joes. That is especially true of typical one page tips in magazine articles. Just way too much going on in the enormous number of muscelss, skeleton, etc of the human body. Skiing is a whole body sport where simply focussing on parts of the solution may not be useful when the rest of the body is not there.

That's where the instructor comes in. Of course ski instructors can glean much more from literature because they have narrow understanding and experience with the lingo. To really be effective media one almost necessarilly needs to use video media as words and static diagrams probably won't communicate effectively to Average Joes. And even if they can see the technique on video or from live demonstrations by instructors or simply watching others, that does not mean they can reproduce those movements and sense what they look like from within their own body's frame of reference. Even most advanced intermediates can watch good fall line mogul skiers all day and still not make much progress on their own.

I do think that well done videos using graphics can be productive though as we can learn movement without words by mimicking movement. I was always impressed by how effective the the old Sybervision Black Diamond Skiing video is. -David

[ December 03, 2003, 09:55 AM: Message edited by: dave_SSS ]
post #12 of 21
This is a great discussion!

I would like to highlight two points that have been touched on.

1) Golfing has been subsidized by public courses to build a critical mass that now fuels the entire industry. Attempts of that nature in the ski industry have been diminutive in comparison.

2) Risk! Unskilled and beginner skiers put themselves at considerable risk while attempting to acquire the skills needed to handle risk avoidance. While they are doing that, the ski industry is busy trying to convince them their goal should be hucking some insane cliff while a 'party crowd' watches to see if they wind up ruining their life! ...And there are people who wonder why they make their choices as they do???

Skiing as a whole will never approach resonable acceptance unless there is a significant shift in focus for the beginning 'Average Joe'.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by jamesj:
golf has the score keeping/handicap/competition aspect,
Excellent point that golf has a score while skiing does not. Every golfer discusses their score and studies how to lower it. Skiing is more of a pass/fail and the cost of fail is way too high while 'pass' is only in the mind of the skier and each of us know the parts we wish we could do better.

[ December 03, 2003, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: Ryel ]
post #14 of 21
I keep trying to convince others to try skiing. The 2 biggest obstacles to convincing folks are the cost of skiing, and a fear of getting hurt. Of course, this wasn't helped much by the fact that I ended my second season of skiing on crutches. :

-d
post #15 of 21
Geez, I was only funnin about the knuckledraggers.

Been there, done that, bummer delta888
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
I read an interview of a golf consultant in a magazine the other day. She said that 80% of men shoot above 96 on a par 72 course and 80% of women shoot above 112. She thinks that people who build golf courses are often good golfers themselves and tend not to consider the average player, but what they and their expert friends like in a golf course. Her advice was to make courses easier so average golfers can have a better time when they play there and want to return.

I thought it was an interesting spin on how to make a sport accessible to average players. I think skiing has the same degree of difficulty as golf--the movement patterns are hard to execute accurately and consistently in all situations and so much hinges on self-confidence. Still, there is a very big difference between golf and skiing:

If the literature about golf would fill a large room, the literature about skiing would fill a large cardboard box. Why is that? Don't average skiers read? In fact, aren't a lot of average skiers also average golfers--the biggest buyers of golf books?

What do you think accounts for this mysterious bibliographical bias?
I suspect the difference is due to competition and the ability to objectively measure performance in golf.

Having participated in both activities, I have never been golfing where competition was not a significant factor. On every hole there is some competition about longest drive or closest to the pin or some such. And at the end of the day there is the objective measure of who shot the best score. And there on the little card is the objective proof of who is the best – king of the duffers.

Skiing, with the exception of racing, does not offer the ability to objectively measure performance. Yes, we can tell the difference between a truly great skier and the average, but it is difficult to impossible to distinguish the level of ability of any single skier within a group of skiers of similar ability.

A further distinction between the activities is that golf is extremely limited both in where you can golf and with whom you can golf. You are limited to a small group of 4 in golf. Yes, you can have more but you are not golfing together and you have a distinctly different experience. It is almost unheard of for a group of 5 families to meet on the links for a day of golf with an age spread of 3 to 83. Not so in skiing, that is fairly common.

The result is in golf that the limited number of players, the objective nature of the game and other factors instill a competitiveness which in turn instills the desire in the players to improve – to show ones buddies just who is king of the duffers. This fosters the need to improve and the cheapest way to improve is through instruction, and book learning is always cheaper than personal instruction. So, in golf books sell.

In skiing the dynamic is almost the opposite. If a group of skiers are well matched, they may each leave the mountain firmly believing they are the best of the group. And since there is no objective score card, who is to say they aren’t? This combined with large groups skiing together results in a more social activity for most participants. This does not foster the need for improvement through instruction of any kind. And seemingly the only instruction in skiing seen as worthwhile is personal instruction from a master. So, in skiing books don’t sell.

Mark
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know if there are more golfers than skiers, or how many rounds of golf were played in 2002? It would be interesting to compare.

I think that golf and skiing are alike in being difficult for people with day jobs and families to break into the higher echelons. I think both appeal to those of us who like to make wagers with ourselves. We may not have a par on the ski hill, but we have runs of varying degrees of difficulty with which to measure our prowess. Skiing isn't comparative unless there's a race, true, but challenging the mountain can be a powerful drug too.

Golf and skiing are both simple sports that invite lots of analysis, yet the best skiers and golfers (and anglers and climbers) just do it. The irony is, for most people trying to get good at skiing or golf, just doing it or mileage alone is not going to get them there.

In this thread I am checking my perception that more people have a desire to get good at golf than to get good at skiing. Is that because being a hack golfer is more socially undesirable than than being a hack skier?

Thanks for the input, everyone. Maybe I'll just shelve that idea to write a ski book.

[ December 04, 2003, 04:37 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #18 of 21
nolo, I have participated in many different sports and was decent at almost all of them. Occasionally I would have an off day but it probably more apparent to me than to others. Even when I have an off day skiing it's not that bad. Now golf is a different story. I have played golf for about 30 years and at times can play like a beginner. I don't see many skiers throwing their skis or swearing and getting furious.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
You're absolutely right about the throwing syndrome being more likely in golf, perhaps because when skiers blow it they tend to get thrown themselves. I do notice that a lot of golfers and skiers respond to negative feedback by beating themselves up a bit more.
post #20 of 21
Like comparing surfing to sunbaking.
post #21 of 21
I read an article from one of the threads here that 80% of first time skiers don't come back.

I wonder what the ratio is for first time golfers?

I shoot in the 80's and love the sport, but it's becoming more expensive than skiing. I've toned down golf because living in the NE, the golf season is shorter than the ski season and believe it or not the equipment is more expensive than 6*'s.
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