Last fall I posted a survey on my business website to try and learn why more millennials aren’t taking up golf and what could be done to entice them to give the sport a try.
It was a bit of a slog trying to get kids to respond to the survey even with targeted ads on Facebook for the 17-25 age group and the support of my golfing friends and colleagues who shared it with the young people they know. Even the potential to win one of two $50 Amazon Gift Cards wasn’t enticement enough for many.
I ended up with almost 100 responses and although one could certainly argue that the sample size isn’t statistically relevant, I feel that the results do speak volumes on how the game of golf is viewed by our youth (and some of the older generation who decided to join in on the fun).
Here’s a bit about the people who responded to the survey. Only 20% were outside the “millennial” demographic with the largest portion coming from the US. Funny, I actually had someone from Napal participate 😉
In terms of their golf experience, there were definitely more golfers in the mix than I was hoping for, but perhaps that’s because non-golfers weren’t interested in even participating in a 5 minute survey about golf. Family and friends were the most influential in terms of introducing the game which didn’t really surprise me. But I was hoping to see “school” show up in here. Only 1 person said they were introduced to the sport through school.
For each different group I split the survey to dig in a bit further on their experience with the sport…
Never Played (12%)
In this part of the survey, respondents were asked why they never tried golf and check all answers that applied. I was expecting to see “not competitive enough” or “not a team sport”, but no one said that. Interesting…
Tried but Quit (16%)
For those who did try golf, the reasons for quitting map pretty well to those who never tried it in the first place.
Play Occasionally (20%)
Occasional golfers put cost at the top of their list, but time isn’t far behind. In reading some of the commentary from these folks, it seems that cost and time are also why more of their friends aren’t playing as often. It makes one wonder if golf were affordable and flexible in terms of how long it takes to play, maybe more of these golfers would play more often.
Avid golfers seem to be driven by the love of the game and the social nature of it. Under “Other” were mostly people who played on golf teams in high school or college. So they weren’t introduced to golf by school, but eventually joined their school team – probably through family/friend influence.
I had assumed that cost would be a big deterrent for some (and the results so far indicate it is a major factor), so I asked all respondents how golf could be made more affordable. Loyalty programs topped the list, but the discounts, coupons, flexible tee times, etc weren’t that far behind. Do you know any golf courses that have a loyalty program? I have yet to see one, so please let me know if you know any and so I can share them with courses in my region.
I also asked them how the game should be taught (or introduced to youth). Getting golf into schools was definitely high on their list. Some adhoc comments included the use of online media and small affordable group lessons where teachers can connect better with students and not apply a “one size fits all” approach.
I closed off the survey by asking an open ended question.
What should golf course owners do to make golf more attractive to 17-25 year olds?
I categorized them by theme, but I didn’t want to edit them, so there are some typos and grammatical errors. Check them out…
Nothing really surprised me in this survey; millennials are looking for a social, fun, affordable and inclusive experience. Based on the answers to the last question, it would appear that those needs are not being met by many golf courses.
Maybe it’s because the owners and managers are of the same mindset as 3 of my respondents who answered the last question with…
“For public courses: stricter dress codes and supervision.”
“How should I know — kids that young are like alien beings to me.”
Oh well…you can’t teach an old dog new tricks I guess. 😉
I would love your feedback on the results of this survey. Please leave me a comment at the bottom.
Have a great day!
Gayle (AKA Golfgal)
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