Attracting the Millennial Golfer
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Many golf courses are faced with the same challenge - how do we attract and retain millennial golfers? Let me start by explaining why we should care about the millennial golfer and some key things your course can do to win their business.
First off, millennials are those born between the 1980’s and 2000, making the older millennial just under 40 years of age and the millennial youngsters right in those early 20’s. Millennials are the largest generation in history, even bigger than the Gen Xers. They have vast buying power, both personally and professionally, where they are quickly assuming decision maker positions. They will have a spending power of 10 trillion over their life times, making them a very important consumer. (Mike Soloman; All About Millennial Consumers And Millennial-Friendly Customer Experiences)
The millennial group, being the first completely digital native group, are trendsetters and have far reaching influence over those in their social networks. What they are looking for in a businesses where they spend their time and money (i.e. the golf course) is different than that of their parents and grandparents. The millennial group is looking to discover new things and to share experiences with friends and family. Golf courses are set up uniquely for this. Unfortunately, many courses have dated business models and practices that are not capturing the attention of this highly influential generation.
1) Capturing the interest of the millennial generation.
Golf courses need to be present online. This presence needs to be with an eye catching mobile friendly website and social media. It's not enough anymore to just have a website and a Facebook page. Courses need to be engaged with current and future players and members on a regular basis. Posting stories and content that connects and impacts your target audience.
2) Amenities and offerings need to fit the busy lifestyle and passions of this group.
Millennials are value driven and crave authenticity. And by value we don’t mean discounts, we mean core values of the company or organization. What does your course represent and what positive impact does your business have on the community? Do you have meeting space available for young professionals? These are the types of options that will turn the occasional players into frequent players and members spending time and money at your course. I’ve seen courses provide Friday night “9 and Dine” events for members with small children giving parents a chance to enjoy some golf, good food, and time to reconnect.
3) Millennials don’t want to buy from you, they want to partner with you.
This generation wants to collaborate and be part of the process. This can be in the form of a monthly questionnaire asking what wine or beer they would like or what type of apparel they would like to see in your pro shop. Hint: it's not the standard typical polo with your logo.
With proper business strategy and marketing plans, golf courses can win over the millennial golfer and turn them into long term players and members, securing your course memberships, and continuing to grow the game. Golf is seeded in history and tradition, and how millennials engage and play the game may look different to us, but ignoring what energizes and excites this generation will leave many courses with a “slow play penalty”. Courses that change strategy and gain loyal millennial business will pull ahead on this leaderboard.
-Jacki Arnic, Owner 2ironmarketing.com