From coast to coast, people are playing more golf. Sure, alternative options for interaction and recreation may be scarce during the pandemic but that’s not the only reason more people are teeing up. Sports entertainment companies, local courses, online golf enthusiasts and even professional associations are making golf more appealing to younger generations.
As 2020 began, the U.S. golf industry was already optimistic with the number of on-course golfers remaining around 25 million for the sixth consecutive year and off-course participation growing steadily by double digits (entertainment venues, indoor simulators, etc.) (1) Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit and the golf industry had an unprecedented year. A few standout stats from the National Golf Association’s 2020 Graffis Report:
- 14% YOY increase in rounds despite course shutdowns in early spring
- Total on- and off-course golf participation was up year over year to 36.9 million participants
- Net gain of 500K on-course golfers, the largest increase since 2003, up to 24.8M
Increased interest in the game not only equals golf industry growth, but also more opportunities for promotional product sales in the golf sector. As more people participate in both on- and off-course play, there’s potential for expanded tournament programs, competitions, team building events, retail shop opportunities and fundraisers.
Digital creators making golf content online are reaching younger audiences where they already like to spend their screen time. Take the five golf “fanalysts” at No Laying Up. They’ve generated huge audiences using popular mediums like podcasts and YouTube videos to build an online community. As their fans engage digitally, they also meet up IRL, connecting the next generation of golfers on the course for a boost to the industry overall.
And this is just one example of how digital curiosity can impact the game. Google reports that golf-related searches are on the rise, reaching points in 2020 that were significantly higher than the previous five years, so the online golf audience is out there and browsing online pro shops. (2)
That’s right, digital creators use promo products to build their lifestyle brands and it goes way beyond the traditional golf category. Everything from pet accessories to headwear, tech gear, travel bags, stickers, drinkware and more are in-demand with golf enthusiasts shopping online.
Off Course Entertainment
Driving range / bar / restaurant venues like Topgolf and Drive Shack are opening facilities worldwide at a rapid pace. Their microchip technology and different game options offer mass appeal in an atmosphere that is fun, friendly and comfortable – a far cry from the country club. The experience is meant to be entertaining and enjoyable for everyone and it shows. 55% of Topgolf’s audience is in the 18-34 year old range. (3)
Golf entertainment facilities are also extremely popular for get-togethers and events of all sizes. Most are set up to handle everything from holiday parties to team-building initiatives or bachelor/bachelorette parties, and sell plenty of merch out of their “pro shops” to players who want to remember the occasion.
Case Study: Drinkware for a Golf Entertainment FacilityA golf entertainment facility was promoting their all-inclusive party packages that included game play, food and beverages, and wanted to include a useful promo that also related to their fun and unique services.
They chose to provide the #46260 mybevi® Brute Premium Tumbler imprinted with the facility logo as part of their event package because of the superior performance at an affordable price point. Companies who booked corporate events within a 6-month timeframe received a tumbler for each attendee upon arrival at the event. The facility saw a 20% increase in event bookings and referrals for corporate events during the slow season. They also received positive feedback in follow-up surveys that were sent to event organizers. The sports entertainment facility was so pleased with the result they placed a re-order for the mybevi® Tumbler to include in their retail store offering.
On the Course
Prior to COVID, many golf courses were already taking steps to make the game less intimidating and more likely to attract new or inexperienced players. For example, Shanty Creek Resorts in Michigan added wider 8-inch cups and sets of forward tees to a course to make the game easier and faster. (3)
They are also one of many resorts promoting the Tee It Forward initiative which encourages players to play from the set of tees that is best suited to their driving distance. Overall, the idea is to provide more enjoyment for the golfer while also improving pace of play.
Research from the PGA of America suggests there are 61 million people in America who have tried the game of golf but aren’t currently playing. Their Golf 2.0 Playbook outlines ways to grow the number of golfers, rounds and revenues over the next ten years through player development.
With new initiatives and support from the biggest golf associations in the country, the appeal of the game with young adults and children will continue to grow – increasing the demand for golf promos along with it. Visit kooziegroup.com to shop hundreds of golf promotional products that will get your clients noticed both on and off the course.
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