Golf's 2017 Renaissance
I hope the thousand golf courses around the country on the verge of closing can hang on a while longer. If you look at the stats from an article on Topgolf it indicates that 37% of their customers are (were) non-golfers. It confirms my point that (at least) 10-million people would try golf if given a chance. It also confirms my experience that more women would take up golf than anyone imagined - 32% of Topgolf's customers. If marginal golf courses can hang on the future appears bright.
The most encouraging stat below is the age 18 to 34 group that makes up 53% of Topgolf's customers.
I have also encouraged golf courses to relax dress codes to become more in tune with attitudes of the times - not 1935. Topgolf's atmosphere is 2017. Golf has to shake its out-of-date culture and embrace the way of life of these times - not lifestyles of 75-years ago.
WHO PLAYS TOPGOLF?
- Non-golfers: 37 percent! (How many non-golfers tee it up at your country club? A big fat Zero!)
- Golfers who have played 1-7 rounds in the last year: 28 percent.
- Golfers who have played 8-24 rounds in the last year: 21 percent.
- Golfers who have played 25 or more rounds in the last year: 14 percent.
- 17 and under: 14 percent.
- 18-34: 53 percent. (That has been the declining group for 25-years)
- 35-44: 16 percent.
- 45-64: 15 percent.
- 65 and over: 2 percent. (Duh!)
- Male: 68 percent
- Female: 32 percent!
FINALLY - YOUNG PEOPLE CAN BE ATTRACTED TO GOLF!
A Jacksonville, Florida PGA Pro, Mike Lynch, said about his 23-year-old daughter, “All of a sudden, golf is a pretty cool sport to her,” Mike Lynch said. “She’s going to a driving range and wants to play at a real golf course. And all it took was playing in a casual, relaxed, no-stress environment.”
My business associate, Bill McIntosh, a PGA 'lifer', visited Jacksonville's TopGolf location recently and was blown away with the crowd, the atmosphere, and the 'life' he saw. He was especially impressed with how young the crowd was.
IF MARGINAL GOLF COURSES CAN HANG ON...
"Surveys from the other 31 Topgolf sites throughout the country indicate that 25 percent of people who have their first golf experience at Topgolf will play at a more traditional venue in the future, such as an 18-hole course or practice range. Since two-thirds of its customers have never played golf before visiting a Topgolf, the numbers game indicates a potential boost for an industry that has lost around 2 million players since peaking at more than 26 million golfers nationwide in 2005."
"And millennials, the demographic group almost all businesses are courting, make up the majority of Topgolf customers. The company estimates 53 percent of its customers are between 18 and 34 years old, eclipsing every other age group combined."
"Women are another group the golf industry desperately wants to attract. According to the National Golf Foundation, 23 percent of all golfers are women. Topgolf says 32 percent of its customers are women."
"It’s the start-up process that appeals to patrons of Topgolf. They don’t need their own clubs, memorize a rule book, be concerned with a dress code, or losing a bunch of balls in the high grass."
Hang on if you can.
Mike Kahn, Golfmak, Inc.