It's hard to predict the future, but that doesn't stop any of us from trying.
In recent weeks, writers from just about everywhere have been asking golf industry experts to look into their crystal balls and make a forecast about 2010. Here are some of their comments.
-- Doug Carrick, a Canadian golf architect, in Asian Golf Business: "It's not great yet, but at least we're seeing some signs of it turning around."
-- Jack Nicklaus, in an interview with PGA.com: "Overseas is exploding for golf. . . . The game is growing, particularly in China, India, Brazil, Russia -- places that didn't have much golf before. It's going to continue to grow in those markets for a long time."
-- Dave Glod of Tour Edge Golf, in Golfing magazine: "For 2010, we are not anticipating any growth in the game due to the unemployment rate and difficult economy."
-- Teddie O'Keefe, a board member of the New Jersey Golf Course Owners Association, in the Asbury Park Press: "Things are looking up for courses this year. We believe the golf industry is coming out of the recession a little bit earlier than other businesses because there is pent-up demand."
-- Craig Wrench of Washington Holdings (the company that recently bought the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort in Dana Point, California), in the Los Angeles Times: "We're still in a troubled economy, and we need another six to 12 months or maybe 18 months of recovery to be back where we need to be."
-- Tom Shapland of Wadsworth Golf Construction, in Asian Golf Business, comparing 2009 and 2010: "Our projection is that 2010 is going to be worse."
-- Harry Arnett of TaylorMade Golf, in Golfing magazine: "We are extremely positive about the market in 2010. . . . We know it will be some time before the industry gets back to the levels it was at a few years ago. But we think 2010 will be a growth year again for us."
-- Mark Eitelman of Agri-Scape Golf Course Construction, in Asian Golf Business: "I don't think it's going to get much worse."