Looks can be deceiving

2013-01-14-3-old-golfers-featured-imageIf you scanned the front page of yesterday’s New York Times, tuned in one of the major TV news programs or surfed the web, you’d think that golf is a white hot game at the moment.

But, you’d be dead wrong. In fact, golfing is facing its own Oldsmobile crisis. Why? Because most golfers are either Baby Boomers or members of the Greatest Generation. And very few Millennials are even paying attention to it. Want bottom-line proof? The industry lost a net 400,000 players last year, according to the National Golf Foundation. Any business losing 400,000 customers annually needs to fix what’s broke post haste.

It’s especially ironic that golf doesn’t resonate with young people since Jordan Spieth, the winner of Sunday’s Masters Tournament, is only 21. And, according to The Times, the top ranked woman golfer is 17. And, three of the top five men in the new world rankings will be under 28. So, what gives?

Yahoo Sport’s Jay Busbee had this to say, “Golf’s in a lot of trouble. It’s expensive and takes too long.” And that combination is pure poison when trying to attract Millennials. Busbee went on to add, “Because most young people don’t have the disposable income and/or free time and/or desire to spend 6+ hours on an expensive golf course. And the rules of golf — and there are so many, so many – don’t mesh well with the Millennial mindset.”

There’s lots of talk about building shorter, nine-hole golf courses and re-positioning the sport as a young, family-friendly game. Good luck with that strategy. Unless the industry does something truly dramatic to attract younger players, I think golf will become a fringe sport within 20 years. And, unfortunately, there are no Mulligans when it comes to salvaging a game or re-positioning a brand.


One thought on “Looks can be deceiving

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