The research showed that 16% of millennials surveyed were already private-club members, with another 63% looking to join in the future. Data gleaned from 1,600 avid golfers pointed to the importance of offering non-golf amenities such as fitness, dining and pools, emphasizing a variety of social experiences, and providing flexibility with initiation fees, as important considerations for getting more from the generation to make a membership commitment.
Nextgengolf, a subsidiary of the PGA of America, has released the full annual study on Millennials & Golf’s Value Proposition. Over 1,600 avid golfers in the Nextgengolf community were surveyed and GGA Partners analyzed the data to showcase trends in the millennial golf community.
Some of the key highlights from the study include:
· Millennials find golf relevant. Many love golf, but also 10 other activities equally.
- The concept of a “golf lifestyle” is evolving for millennials and the way they engage with the sport is too. Millennials are experiencing “life mobility” and will change levels of engagement more than previous generations. Cost is a major concern for millennials and the biggest barrier between them and golf. This is partially due to lifestyle evolution and primarily as a result of funding capability. The good news is that millennials show excitement and strong interest toward playing golf in general, as well as joining private clubs, under the “right” fee structure.
· Millennials request flexibility when joining a private club.
- The research showed that 16% of millennials are already private-club members—but for another 63% looking to join in the future, clubs that modify their traditional upfront initiation fee are more likely to attract millennials. Allowing millennials to pay the initiation fee in installments and providing flexibility if millennials move away (due to job transfers or other life events) have proved to be successful. In general, millennials would prefer to pay more annually rather than invest a large amount in an initiation fee. If private clubs account for this, they can attract millennials and maintain their membership standard revenue. Flexibility is key.
· Off-the-course activities are positively affecting on-course utilization.
- 95% of respondents experienced some form of off-the-course activities in 2019, including Topgolf, golf-themed restaurant/bars, indoor simulators, etc. Contrary to some beliefs, data shows that on-course rounds are not negatively impacted by this activity; in fact, respondents indicated that the off-the-course golf activities makes them more likely to play on-course.
· Non-golf amenities matter.
- All golf courses should consider where to invest their resources. Many narratives suggest more technology/music is the missing piece for attracting millennials. But in the context of important amenities for clubs to have for millennials to join a golf club, technology/music came in at a low 12%, while fitness centers, dining facilities, and pools were cited as far more significant. Courses should focus on these and other types of social activities to attract millennials to their facility and offer added value through off-course experiences.
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