Written by Phil Lemler
Golf is NOT dying
There has been a great amount of commentary about the fact that golf is dying and we should not rely on its value as an amenity here in Hot Springs Village. The media has done much to perpetuate this discussion but a quick analysis of the facts do not support this theory.
“As many of you know, I believe that retiring golfers should be our primary (and only) target market. This is not only my opinion, anyone with professional marketing expertise would (and have) agreed. One can certainly comb through these reports and find information/data to support their opinions. However, I do not believe anyone can read these and suggest that golf is dying.” – Phil Lemler
Teconomy Partners study comparing 2011 to 2016
A 2017 Golf Study Comparing 2011 to 2016 – by
- Golf economy grew by 22.2% (4.1% annually) from 2011 to 2016.
- 2.5 million golfers played for the first time in 2016 versus 1.5 million in 2011.
- There are (2016) 23.8 million golfers in the U.S. – over 2.5 million retire every year.
- $25.7 billion was spent on golf tourism in 2016.
- Golf community (existing homes in golf communities) real estate premium was $2 billion in 2016 versus $1.6 billion in 2011.
- New home construction in golf communities grew to $7.2 billion in 2016, up from $3.1 billion in 2011.
- There has been a 20% increase in kids taking up golf (500,000+) from 2011 to 2016.
Course decline due to mismanagement/poor marketing
There has been a decline in golf courses, 737 from 2011 to 2016. However, this (in my opinion) is mostly mismanaged and poorly marketed situations. Most of the decline has come from the lower age end of the demographic spectrum … the millennials/Gen Xers which are who the marketing components of the CMP propose to attract to HSV.
National Golf Foundation highlights
Another golf report/study conducted by the National Golf Foundation in 2018 highlights the following:
- Number of golfers 65+ increased by 13% to 3.6 million (2017).
- Number of non-golfers who said they are interested in taking up golf (2017) rose to 14.9 million an all time high.
- 63% of PGA TV viewers are aged 55+.
These golf reports offer a substantial amount of detail and I recommend reading them. The point is that “golf is NOT dying”. We are wasting an excellent marketing opportunity by buying into inaccurate facts and irrelevant industry data.
The reality is that if you go to a Chicago (or anywhere) area golf course on a Saturday morning and speak with a 55 year old golfer who has worked all week and lives for his Saturday golf outings (he/she will play rain or shine). Ask that person what he plans to do in retirement and I’ll wager the majority will say, “I’m going to play more golf!”
This is our target market! Once again, our poor marketing is showing through.