If TV viewing figures are anything to go by, golf has some big problems

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We're constantly being told that golf is all about the young stars coming through. That the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are encouraging youngsters to put down their PlayStation controllers and pick up their putter. But is that the reality?

In a word, no. 

Average age of a golf TV viewer is 57

At last week's R&A summit on slow play, Haydn Mackenzie, editor of planning and special projects for Sky Sports, revealed that the average age of a television golf viewer is 57.

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Overall figures are down 24% in five years

Anyone who thinks golf doesn't need Tiger Woods may be surprised to hear that overall viewing figures have dropped by 24% in the last five years, coinciding with the 14-time Major winner's severe loss of form.  

Only 5% of audience is under 25

Perhaps most worryingly, only 5% of the viewing audience for golf is under the age of 25. 

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Mackenzie does feel that the likes of Spieth and McIlroy can help address this, with the right coverage. “Consumers are attracted by personalities,” he says. “We see their personalities driving and boosting viewing 
figures. We will bring their stories to life.”

When it comes to broadcasting, the BBC's desertion of golf has left it all down to Sky. It will have exclusive coverage of The Open from next year

"We are prepared to be innovative and take calculated risks when it comes to showcasing the greatest sport there is," says Mackenzie. 

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