Golf World Magazine's print version passed away after 67 years. The current publisher, Conde Nast bought is from The New York Times in 2001. During the transition, less than 10 people were laid off.
I think it is a good and normal recognition of changing media consumption habits of our readers + understanding that there are less golfers in the US (even armchair or "sleeping" golfers). The number of golfers in the U.S. has declined 24% from its peak in 2002, according to the consulting firm Pellucid.
Readers of Golf World will receive the quality content free of charge. Print subscribers of Golf World will start receiving Golf Digest, which is published 12 times a year.
I agree with with what Golf World Magazine wrote in their blog:
"But this evolution allows us to increase frequency, improve delivery time, and add video reporting to better meet the expectations of today's readers."
I would add one more thing, they will be able to reach better engagement and faciliate real time conversation with their readers. At this moment I have no information whether Conde Nast will allow to "platform". Namely to enable readers to upload digital content as varied as links, text, video and other media. The result is a “publish first” model in which a lightly filtered, or unfiltered, stream of material moves from reader to reader, with the publication acting as a host and directing conversation but not controlling it. On its Traveler website it is already working.
At the same time I am not so sure if it is a good idea to provide free access to the content. If they can generate sufficient revenue from ads then free access is less problematic.
Content creation and development is one of the biggest cost of a publishing company (e.g. Conde Nast) even if it is an online media company.