SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – There’s an old adage against the game of golf, that it is a good walk spoiled. Don’t tell that to a golfer though. Golfers are passionate about the sport. But golf, historically and even today, can be considered expensive and elitist. Yet, Utah out of all states seems to have reasonably priced rounds and a sense of accessibility that you might not find elsewhere.

Jake Miller, executive director of the Utah Golf Association and Paul Pugmire, executive director of First Tee Utah joined ABC4’s Nick McGurk for an IN FOCUS discussion about what the State of Utah gets right about the sport and what improvements can be made.

In part one, they talked about Nibley Golf Course, the state’s first golf course and why it was created. They discussed how the majority of golf courses in Utah are owned by cities, counties, or the state and whether that makes golf more equitable for Utahns. They analyzed how popular golf is in Utah, whether they think the state needs more private courses, the tournaments offered in Utah, and how other states view the golf scene in Utah.

In part two, Miller and Pugmire discussed how golf courses are managed during Utah’s extreme drought, whether courses in St. George are maintained the same way, how they feel about the proposal to build a luxury golf course in Kanab and arid parts in the state, whether low property taxes paid by country club courses hurt the game overall, and how golf courses used to not allow African Americans or women to play at their locations.

In part three, the guests talked about how popular golf actually is in Utah, whether there was lull in interest a few decades ago, how the COVID-19 pandemic affected golf, programs for children to take up golf, golf college scholarships, what worries them the most about the future of the game, and what they’re most excited about.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Miller and Pugmire, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.