A way to evaluate your wondering is to compare and contrast the golf economies of other areas/countries which have produced the high level golfers you allude to. The British Isles probably is a good laboratory as England and Ireland with a similar historically strong golf culture have borned a number of the world's finest golfers. Taking into account economic differences, are courses in the rest of the BI doing that much better than Scotland's?
I agree with your last paragraph. Tiger Woods brought a lot of previously non-golfers into the game and he continues to be one of the best draws in any sport. I don't know to what extent the new golfers enhance the culture or whether they sustain the game as in the past (I know operators who much prefer organic growth, but that's another topic).
You are absolutely right about supply and demand. I don't know anything outside of what I read in these pages about Golf Now and the opinions vary considerably- some think it is the devil's work enticing owners and managers to do crazy things against their interests; others believe that it entices incremental play, at least in the number of rounds if not total revenues, while bringing new people into the game.
BTW, I came to the game reluctantly, only because my buddies talked me into going with them to a very cheap daily-fee course. It only took one round to lure me in. Perhaps I am the exception, but I got to believe there are many potential golfers out there not too different than me.
Golf Now may not be used optimally by the trade, but dynamic pricing seems to be rather common. Like with any other consumer product, one has to be careful/selective with its use so as not to cannibalize higher value rounds. Me, I guess I have a lot more faith in how people with skin in the game run their business- I talk to a lot of golfers, many who believe that they know more about golf operations and maintenance than the professionals who are paid to run the golf courses.
Years ago Ron Whitten wrote an article in Golf Digest about how golf was becoming like the pizza business. I can't find the article nor the thread on this site, but there was a lot of good stuff in both that have some relevance to this thread.