I think Sirak makes some very powerful points - However, trying to understand the plateauing of the number of people playing the game is likely more complicated than it may initially seem. The golf industry and business has some embedded challenges to their business model likely not easily overcome. To begin, tp play the game, you heed a course - To build a course you need land and a lot of it. It isn't cheap to build a course and it takes a fair amount of capital of maintain a course. These start up expenses ans ongoing maintenance expenses necessitate a level of required revenues to simply break even that likely are quite high. Giving up cart revenues isn't an easy task when you've got debt to service.
Contrast the golf experience to baseball - It takes a lot less space and no particular high level maintenance to keep up the local diamond. And contrast baseball's cost of a ball, bat, glove, and uniform to balls, clubs, and uniforms for golf. Typically, it is a lot easier for mom or dad to go outside and toss a baseball with his kids than to pop out to the golf course for a quick game.
While there are challenges to embedding golf into a larger group, I look at the experience of youth soccer in the US and wonder why all of the zillions of kids playing soccer haven't translated into more of a professional game and enthusiasm in the US. Does youth golf face similar dynamics? What is lost in the transition from youth soccer to more of a following of that game in later years?
Not sure what the answers are, but offering up free golf for youngsters accompanied by adults or perhaps free if kids register with the course they play and agree to rules of decorum like those taught within First Tee programs might help build momentum. And Mr.Sirak's idea of smaller, faster rounds is attractive...But the game has certain limitations based on the economics of profitably operating a golf facility. It is not the cheapest game to participate in, but it sure is fun!