Travel + Leisure Golf has found itself in a sand trap. American Express Publishing has decided to shut down the print edition of the 11-year-old magazine, which features articles on golf destinations, celebrity profiles, and golf deals. The magazine's advertising pages were down 13.9 percent in 2008, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.
"While the award-winning editorial product has enjoyed a loyal and passionate following, the current advertising climate has severely impacted the magazine's bottom line to where the short-term and mid-term prospects for the magazine are not viable," President and CEO Ed Kelly said in a statement. Travel + Leisure Golf will close with the March/April issue.
Advertising Age reports: "[Travel + Leisure Golf] reported average paid circulation of 194,047 over the second half of 2008, 32% lower than the 286,053 paid circulation it reported for the second half of 2007, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations and BPA Worldwide. Including free copies distributed to public places like doctor's offices, the title reported average overall circulation of 637,048 over the second half of last year, according to BPA."
Across the United States, the golf industry is hurting. According to the National Golf Foundation, as many as 15 percent of private clubs are reporting financial problems, with memberships down 29 percent.