The club world continues to adapt and change to address the expectations of new member demographics, while keeping in balance the traditions that have defined success with existing, tenured members.
Moody’s Investor Service provides credit ratings, research, and risk analysis for investors and financial markets. A highly respected firm, the financial community pays attention when Moody’s speaks.
So I was more than a bit interested to read a news item about a Moody’s report on an industry whose “user base is going gray” and that needs to “win over Millennials to take the place of Baby Boomers.” The report went on to suggest that there is no question that the tremendous amount of supply has outpaced growth in demand, and that new efforts are needed to attract younger players now and as they age.
Sound familiar? The report was about regional casinos and the gaming industry. Welcome to our world.
Baby Boomers succeeded “The Greatest Generation,” and we are now giving way (grudgingly, some might say) to the Millennials—otherwise known as Generation Y—whose numbers will surpass us in size this year. And the day will come when the Gen Zs surpass them, only to be supplanted by whichever cleverly dubbed group comes next, be it Post-Millennials, iGen, or even the Pluralist Generation. The fact that change comes with each passing of the torch is not new, but we like to make it news.
Golf, and the industries aligned with the game, are now frequently described as graying. To some reporters, Tiger Woods approaching his 40s with a game in decline (at least by his standards) is part of this move into the gray area. The assumption is that without Tiger on the leaderboard, TV ratings will be in free fall, and corresponding interest in the game will wane.
And then along comes Jordan Spieth to captivate an audience by dominating and winning The Masters at the tender age of 21—a nice start for Gen Z. Spieth is now 2nd in the World Golf Rankings, right behind top-ranked Rory McIlroy, who turned 26 on May 4. I don’t see much “graying” here.
No one will be surprised if Spieth captures the No. 1 world ranking, and no one will argue that the game is in good hands if he and McIlroy develop a rivalry that carries on for the next 10 to 15 years.
Meanwhile, the club world continues to adapt and change to address the expectations of new member demographics, while keeping in balance the traditions that have defined success with existing, tenured members. The industry is better off for having survived a bit of adversity associated with this graying, and for stepping up to the new realities of responsible management practices and programs, while adding amenities that complement a well-manicured golf course. To put it more bluntly, this became a matter of survival for a lot of clubs.
Moody’s suggests the regional gaming industry is heading into its own bit of adversity based on changing customer demographics and corresponding expectations. Gaming is big business, so, just as the club market had to, they will figure this out.
You can bet on it.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“I never rooted against an opponent, but I never rooted for him either.”