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Golfing Millennials, and the Future of Golf

Many people like to say that golf is dying.  Some say it’s already dead, it just doesn’t know it yet.

Here are some facts, per the National Golf Foundation:

  • Golfers comprise ~9.6% of the total population
  • 77.5% are males; 22.5% are females
  • 68% are married
  • 50% have “white collar” jobs

They say we’ve lost the millennials, but there’s someone that took the initiative to try to get them back.

GolfGal has an incredibly in-depth article about what millennials want in their golf.  I’m not going to share the whole thing because honestly, my hands would go on strike, but a few tidbits:

What should golf course owners do to make golf more attractive to 17-25 year olds (cost)?

  • Lower green fees (dear to my heart)
  • Relaxed rules (yes!!!)
  • Short-term, low-cost, non-restrictive memberships
  • Free range balls

All of these are intriguing.  I find myself lucky; the majority of the courses near me are less than $50 for a round of 18 holes… even with the cart!

I’m especially interested in the short-term membership idea.  No one I know of offers this.  They have two real options:

  1. year-long plus weekends
  2. year-long no weekends

That’s it.  Why not have a 1, 2, 3, 4, 6-month membership plan?  Obviously, the warmer climates can have longer partial plans, as they have more “golf time”, but a month or two in Michigan can be a long time for golfers.

cost of golf

This driver cost a total of $100, brand new.

What should golf course owners do to make golf more attractive to 17-25 year olds (fun/culture)?

  • Music
  • Make it easier to get started
  • Drop the elitist attitude
  • theme nights in the clubhouse

All good ideas.

Honestly, I don’t have a problem with people playing music.  I have no less than 100 songs running through my head at any given time, anyway, so for me it isn’t a problem. I’ve never encountered someone with one of those huge boomboxes, just people listening to music on their phone.  That doesn’t get too loud, does it?  No…

I like the theme nights idea.  The obvious use for clubhouses outside of golf is wedding receptions and proms… but why not have a country or Margaritaville theme night on a Saturday?  Golf courses want to make money, and this would be a nice revenue boost once or twice a week.

I’m going to ask: which are you- the inclusive or exclusive type?  If you say “exclusive”, I’m going to respectfully ask you to leave.  You aren’t my clientele.  I want to grow the game, not shrink it.

As you leave, think about what it’d be like with no golf.  While you’re doing that, ask yourself “how much blood can you get out of a turnip?”, because that’s what’s happening now.  Golf aims to find it’s “best customer” and bleed them dry.  How much more do the so-called regulars have left?  What happens when they’re gone?

The big golf-killer: Cost

It’s no secret that cost flip-flops with “difficult to play” as the #1 reason why people leave golf.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

No, I’m not kidding.  The thing I notice, though, is that it’s hard to break the conditioning. The masses in golf seem to think “more expensive = better”. I’m trying to change that, but it feels like an uphill battle sometimes. I tell people I spent $75 on my driver (used Bio Cell $60, $10 Integra iDrive shaft, $5 grip) and they say “yeah, but that <insert new big-name driver here> is just awesome”. Even when I blow it 30 yards past them, they’re still skeptical, as if my driver’s fixed somehow.

Here’s a video of my last drive with that $75 club:

260+ yards of carry distance with an “old” driver.  Let me ask you: how old is your washing machine?  It costs the same as a brand new driver… but do you replace it every six months to a year?

A Final Word to the Millennials

You need to make the change.  You do it on social media for issues ranging from animals to GMO-infused foods to social justice.  You can do it with golf, as well.

It NEEDS you if it wants to survive, whether they want to admit it or not.  Green Lantern Golf is committed to growing the game; if you want to bounce ideas off of me, I’m all ears.  Swing instruction, equipment talk, how to get started… I’m game for anything.

Either comment below or email me. I’m more than happy to help!

About the Author

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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