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If you’ve ever golfed on one of the many quality and scenic courses in North Central Washington this thought may have occurred to you: Wouldn’t all this beautiful land be more profitable if it were opened to development?

Those would be fighting words to loyal golfers, who take advantage of and enjoy tremendously the great golfing opportunities we have here on beautiful courses that offer diverse challenges.

And course owners might tell you that as long as there are enough people willing and ready to pull out their clubs and hit the links, that property is doing just fine the way it is.

But nationally, golf as a recreational sport is on the decline. Where once there were new courses being built with stunning regularity, we’ve now reached a point where there are more courses closing nationwide than being built.

In this issue of Business World we look at the local golf industry and how it’s faring during these challenging times.

What we found is most are seeing some decline in numbers of golfers but not as dramatically as is being experienced nationwide.

We have our local golfers who will be out on some course somewhere, sometimes daily. There is no drop in interest from them, only occasional drops from the hazards. Courses also are working hard to lure the next generation of golfers to the beauty and challenge of the sport.

In addition, with so many tourists making their way to our region, golf remains one of the attractions that keeps them coming back. Our abundant sunshine and wide variety of top-notch courses are tough to beat when it comes to golfing.

And even if it isn’t always the courses themselves that bring people here, it can be an important element of making and keeping our region a tourism destination with lots of opportunities to do lots of things.

Included with this edition of Business World is the special 30 Under 35 section, highlighting this year’s honorees. This is the fourth year for 30 Under 35 and once again we have a great class of young, talented people who will be leading our community into the future.

Again this year, there were a lot of great nominees for this honor and narrowing it down to 30 was a difficult task. That speaks well for now and for the future, knowing the depth of bright young people in our midst.

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