Golf Clubs: Managing Millennial Members

By | 02 December 2014

Attracting and managing the ‘Millennial’ generation (people born from the 1980s to the early 2000s) is becoming a major issue for golf clubs. Golf clubs are confronted with the problem of missing the millennial market as customers because younger generations do not favour golf as their parents did.

This situation will significantly decrease the profits of golf clubs and influence their future sustainable development if the golf industry is not pro-active in response. Several factors have caused the younger generation to abandon golf so there are a number of potential issues that need to be confronted by golf clubs to avoid declining popularity over the long term.

The Perception of Golf Clashing with Millennials’ Values

An important reason for the current difficulties facing the sport is that, in the mind of young generation, golf is often perceived as old-fashioned and time-consuming. Millennials prefer things that are fashionable, energetic and efficient. Golf, or certainly the perception of golf, does not necessarily fit with these values. US magazine, Forbes’ analysis of the issue suggested that golf rules are too complicated for millennials.

Since the rules of golf are inherent to the nature of the game they can hardly be changed so it is perhaps important for golf clubs to pay attention to their marketing and communication strategies instead. To change the impression of golf in millennials’ minds, golf clubs must convince them that golf is a great way to get close to nature and do a relaxing but sporting activity with friends. Through focused marketing communication, golf might succeed in getting closer to the young generation and cater to their values.

High-tech Equipment has Millennial Appeal

Millennials are big fans of modern technology so the traditional layout and equipment in golf clubs is not always attractive to them. However, the modern game has plenty of opportunity to install high-tech tools and make a virtue of equipment technology within the golf club environment. Video courses, 3-D image and high-tech training centers are also useful tools to appeal to the young generation since they may prefer these kind of efficient methods to train and improve.

Social networks and social media are developing fast with even the most conservative businesses starting to embrace them in order to reach new customers and to further develop relationships with existing customers. Millennials are inclusive and passionate about sharing daily life to their friends so it might be necessary for golf clubs to expand wireless networks and allow people to bring their mobile devices into training courses and clubhouses. Internet access allows millennials to share their experience with their friends and satisfy their social needs; giving them access while on-site can be a good source of free social marketing. These high-tech tools call for continuous investment and thought-out strategies to be most effective.

Balancing the Traditional Appeal of Golf with the Modern Business of Golf

Many golf clubs recognise the way the business of golf is changing. In order to cater to the needs and preference of millennials, golf clubs have come up with a variety of events and programs to diversify the sport. Some clubs hold night contests, miniature golf putting courses, and corporate golf events to cater to young players, specifically targeting millennials.

Although it is important to broaden the appeal of golf, changing the face of golf entirely risks making traditional players unhappy. It is important therefore that golf clubs tread a careful line in order to find the difficult balance between maintaining traditional players and catering to millennials.

For more information please contact our Golf Club Principal, Robert Twydle

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