Golf has long been considered an “older person’s” sport and there is definitely some truth to it. If you were to go to your local golf course, you would likely see a large amount of baby-boomer aged (or older) individuals enjoying their afternoon drinks and clubhouse chats. But if golf wants to continue to grow its market size and popularity, it should focus on attracting more young people to the game, and that all starts with the modernizing of the golf course experience. Below are a just a few of the many changes that golf courses should look at implementing to broaden their customer age range.
Create an Inexpensive Beginner Golf Package
Golf is an expensive sport. The cost for a beginner can be off-putting, especially if they are not confident that they will enjoy themselves. It would be helpful for courses to host inexpensive golf camps targeted directly for individuals aged 30 and below. Included in the golf camp could be four group lessons, a golf glove from the clubhouse, free use of rental clubs, a free drink at the course restaurant/bar, and one free round of golf at the end. This type of package would expose the beginner golfer to all aspects of the course: practice facilities, clubhouse, food and beverage, and the actual course itself. By providing a glimpse of all the great experiences one can have at the course, it increases the odds of a beginner returning.
Drinks & Music On the Range
One of the most successful golf advancements in the past few years has been the explosion of TopGolf. TopGolf is essentially a driving range that is outfitted with neon lights, music, and full bars. It appeals to the younger generation by offering a fun social atmosphere. Well why can’t that same concept be applied at a local golf course? Many younger people would be attracted to going to the course and hitting balls if there was enjoyable music and fresh cocktails/craft beer available within walking distance. A course can market this on social media as an alternative to the classic happy hour.
Relaxed Dress Code
There is a reason why many companies are shifting to a more casual dress code these days and it’s because the millennial and younger generations are calling for it. Golf courses need to stay with the times and allow golfers to wear shorts, t-shirts and normal shoes if they want. I get that this goes against many of the traditions of golf, but overly formal attire at work and on the golf course is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Accept it, don’t fight it.
The common perception of golf has long been that it’s seen as not only an older person’s sport, but an old man’s sport. In order to maximize the game’s exposure and to ensure future generations will enjoy the game, more has to be done to encourage women to take up golf. From a marketing perspective, why limit yourself to half the market, right? Offering women’s only groups, wine tastings on the patio, and Instagram worthy interior design inside the women’s locker rooms are good places to start. Many younger women enjoy the concept of TopGolf as well, so it would be wise to begin making your course more appealing to younger women.
There are endless ways a course can appeal to the younger market these days. It’s important to remember the values and traditions that make golf great at the same time. For you experienced golfers, please also remember that we were all once beginner golfers and how intimidating it could be early on.
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