Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/12/11
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Golf icon Jack Nicklaus on Monday suggested major changes to the current state of the sport, saying it's alienating the average golfer and certain demographics. "I believe that the game of golf needs help," Nicklaus said. "The game takes too long to play, it's relatively expensive and it's too difficult. There's a lot of things that could happen." Speaking to members at the Desert Mountain Club, where he designed all six golf courses, to promote next year's Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Nicklaus cited significant declines in female and junior golfers in the past five years to display the waning interest in the game. Since 2006, Nicklaus noted, the female golf demographic has declined about 23 percent -- roughly 2 million golfers -- while the junior demographic has seen a drop of about 34 percent, about 1.3 million. Nicklaus, 71, said the biggest problem today is that the average golfer can no longer do the things professional golfers do. "I think it's really important that the average golfer relates to the golf pros," Nicklaus said. "He always wants to be able to play like the pros, and today I don't think you can." Nicklaus said golf balls used since the "Big Dimple" ball, which has a higher trajectory, was introduced by Titleist in the 1970s make it harder for the average golfer to drive the ball like professional golfers do. That, he said, has made people enjoy the game less and lose interest. Nicklaus, who won a record 18 major championships in 25 years on the PGA Tour, is working with the Tour to determine ways to interest young golfers in particular. "We need to bring people into the game and we need to keep them in the game," Nicklaus said. "We need to think out of the box." As for particular ways to address his criticisms, Nicklaus said he has used tournaments to test stroke penalties for slow play and larger holes -- eight inches instead of four. Those measures, he aid, were well received. Nicklaus knows the "core" golfers resist changes to the game and admitted he has always been a bit of a traditionalist himself, but knows that golf requires some tweaking to sustain relevance and start growing again. "I've always believed that the game should be played a certain way and played by the rules and so forth," Nicklaus said. "That's just not working anymore."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Doc Rivers blames ‘bloggers’ for Blake Griffin trade rumors

Jason Peters: Eagles practiced too much under Chip Kelly

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

Eight most overpaid offensive players in NFL

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker