Golf

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Golf 2.0: More Millennials Teeing Off as Industry Adapts

27 Jul, 2016

By: Michael Popke

Golf took a hit when the world’s top four male golfers — Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth — pulled out of next month’s Olympic Games because of concerns about the Zika virus. But at least the sport appears to be generating new excitement among millennials between the ages of 18 and 34.

“Millennials are showing a significant interest in the game, much like their parents did, but the area we’re trying to address is the way they wish to consume the game as a generation,” Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation, told GreenvilleOnline. “In the past it was, ‘Let’s drive to a course, play 18 holes, have a sandwich, and take six hours to do it.’ Well, that’s not necessarily what millennials are looking for.”

The challenge is for course owners — and the industry, as a whole — to provide what millennials are looking for.

“If you’re 33 and married with a 5- and a 7-year-old who are active, that day-long golf experience may just not fit for you,” Mona continued. “Yet you want to play golf and engage with the game, and that’s what we’re trying to address. So how can we serve up golf in segments that are more in keeping with the lifestyle that millennials have adopted? Is there a way to have a one- or two-hour golf experience, or combine it with something else so that it’s not just about golf?”

A recent National Golf Foundation survey of 72 executives from some of golf’s leading companies indicates they know they must not only attract more millennials to the game, but also younger players to the PGA Tour.

According to a report about the survey: “When pressed for examples of what could hurt or temper golf’s popularity, the executives pulled no punches, with many responses echoing key issues in society today:

“If the game wants to appeal to younger people, golf must be more accepting.”

“Meaningful progress is long overdue in creating ethnic and gender diversity.”

“Elitism [in golf] is undeniable.”

Hmm. We sense some new opportunities for event planners.

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