The Cash for Clunkers program has been a boon for the automobile industry. It has infused energy to the battered car industry by helping to get rid of what once was excess inventory and to supposedly help reduce carbon emissions by improving gas mileage. Because the program has been so successful, many car lots will need to restock inventories and this will put laid off assembly line workers back to work or help maintain those who have these jobs, which could have a ripple effect throughout the world.
Would a similar program be good for the golf industry?
You might have a garage or basement full of old equipment just sitting there doing nothing or you might well have bag full of older clubs that you are still playing. You remember on your last round how you chunked that 3-iron on hole #11, or that 3 putt on #17 or the two drives OB on #2 that resulted in a loss of $6 in golf balls. You are thinking if I only had some new sticks, my score would go down, I would be happier as well as all those around me. Yes, the start of world peace.
If we had such a program, you could trade in your antiquated clubs for new game-improvement models (sorry, no shiny new blades) and the government would provide a trade-in voucher depending how less game-improvement they were. Lowering scores would not be the reason for this program, but depleting excess inventory by major manufacturers who didn’t anticipate the economic slowdown. The insurance industry would lobby for it as well because there would be less glass broke by wayward golf balls in nearby parking lots or condos.
The program would probably work something like the auto program where the government would require the traded in clubs to be destroyed. Heads, at least made from stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, brass and copper, would be recycled. Shafts would be filled with Liquid Glass so the shaft would not bend or deflect. No matter how good the clubs are they could not be reused.
The downside would be fewer clubs would be given to charities like the First Tee program or providing hand-me-down clubs for those to take up the game. This would probably have a negative long term effect on the growth of the game. Additionally with the potentially large number of clubs traded in, fewer used clubs would be available, thus driving up their prices.
However, avid golfers would hail the program and so would several golf manufacturers whose stock has gone down. There would be a run on new equipment requiring foundries overseas to increase production. But in the end when the government money (your tax dollars) ran out, golf club sales would slow down once again or worse since golfers already traded in everything and the newness hadn’t worn off to even think about new equipment. Inventories would again be stockpiled and we would be in no better shape than we are today.
Only one out of every 10 people play golf and our industry does not have the impact of the car industry where nearly everyone is impacted by the automobile. I would tell my Senator and Sate Representative to save their time and work on something more important if that would ever be a consideration. Or I would at worse tell them not to go to their day job and take up golf. They would do more to help the golf industry and the country too.
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