Do golf entertainment venues cannibalize traditional golf course customers?

By: March 19, 2024

Elisa Guadet shared an exciting statistic from our interview yesterday. While 75% of on-course golfers are male, the gender split of players off the course is almost 50-50, with 47% female and 53% male.

Syngenta‘s recently published study titled “Golf & Social Media: Golf Entertainment” has identified a novel phenomenon that merits attention.

The study highlights a new trend that has emerged in the realm of golf entertainment, which is of significant importance to the industry.

The discovery of this phenomenon could potentially lead to developing new strategies and approaches to enhance the golfing experience for enthusiasts.

Syngenta Golf and Social Media study about golf entertainment venues

The research findings offer actionable insights that can be utilized to refine our golf club marketing strategy. These are worth paying attention to:

  • In the US, participation in off-course urban ranges and putting venues where technology, gaming, and hospitality combine have increased from 5.4 million to 15.5 million since 2014, according to the NGF.
  • Many customers at golf entertainment venues do not and would not see themselves as golfers.
  • Even a proportion of grass course players, especially new and intermediate players, still see themselves as outsiders because they feel excluded.
  • The trick for golf course businesses is to recognize how customers feel and create a journey and experience that engages, welcomes, and retains those who play but currently count themselves as Outsiders while retaining those who are already Insiders. Ultimately, inclusivity is just good business.
  • The potential barriers people perceive or face when thinking about golf courses and clubs – sexism against women, discrimination against minorities, and a lack of access for disabled people – are mainly non-existent at golf entertainment venues.
  • Driving ranges and putting venues have better reputations. The defining factor and differentiation is ‘entertainment.’ These destinations are seen as open to all, offering informal, inclusive experiences for groups of friends with food and drink on tap. PopStroke’s brand tagline is ‘Eat. Putt. Drink.’
  • The experiences themselves are described as, “fun” and “family friendly,” and are seen as flexible in terms of competition.
Toptracer experience_fun PGA of America
  • Unlike green grass golf, which is seen as a quiet sport, upbeat music at golf entertainment venues enhances the vibe and appeals to those looking for a party destination or date night.
  • The fact that there is no dress code, mixed abilities around, and no pressure to perform or to be hurried along as you might on a golf course makes it more appealing to beginners.
  • Many outdoor venues have floodlighting, enabling nighttime entertainment, while indoor venues offer year-round golf, including in locations where hot and cold climates can impact play.

Data for the report was provided by Ipsos, with 16.1 million mentions of golf on social media in the United States and UK analyzed over a three-year period (2019-2022).

What would you add to the research results? Let your voice be heard, and share your insights by commenting in the comment box below!