By Dylan Rippe
When people think of golf many think of a boring sport played by old white men. That is quickly changing.
According to the National Golf Foundation, women account for 25% of golfers and people of color account for 21%. These numbers have been growing at a steady rate over the last five years.
Fred Walters has been playing the Churchville Golf Course for almost five years now. He has lived in the Churchville area since he was a young kid.
“When I was a kid I never really imagined playing a sport like golf was for me or for my friends. The last few years I have really noticed a large amount of diversity around here,” Walters said.
Kids are also beginning to show much more interest both on and off the course.
Director of golf operations at Churchville Golf Course, Bob Ehrmentraut, is happy to see the newer generations show interest.
“I am at the tail end of my 12th year doing this and by far this summer I have seen the most young kids out there,” Ehrmentraut said.
“If we can keep getting new beginners and young people around here I will be able to do my job for another 10 years,” Ehrmentraut said.
The introduction of a newer professional golf league, the LIV Tour, has gained the media’s attention over the last few months and could be a factor in this new growth.
Churchville Golf Pro Tom Bolduc has noticed the increase in youth, women, and people of color through his lessons.
“I have to say since COVID I was worried about what kind of business we would have and I have been surprised,” Bolduc said. “I am not sure if the new LIV Tour is gaining interest in young kids or if it is from the boredom of COVID but I love to see these guys out there.”
Churchville Golf Course has been using the new growth to their advantage.
“We have just finished the installation of a state of the art irrigation system on our west course. This is part of a larger plan to improve the quality and difficulty of all 27 holes here,” Bolduc said.
The Churchville Golf Course has a 27 holes setup with an 18 hole course for leagues and a West course for walk-ins.
“The use of the West Course for beginners and walk-in people is huge for the growth of the game,” Bolduc said.
The development of golf and the increase in people of color, women, and young kids playing is great for the community. Quickly growing in diversity and welcoming all levels of skill to the course.