In spite of golf’s presence in the Summer Olympics last year – a first in over 112 years – there was a time when the sport’s viability was in question, especially since major corporations like Adidas and Nike have either downsized their golf lines exponentially or cut them altogether.
This mindset was brought about because it seemed that younger Americans’ growing disinterest in golf could be attributed to several major changes in their everyday lives, including, but not limited to: a lack of time due to work commitments, a heightened desire to save money for traveling the globe, and a general distaste in stuffy (and expensive) country clubs.
However, these misconceptions result from the game of golf as it applied to their father’s and grandfather’s generation. Today, golf, instead of being the stereotypical rich businessman’s sport, is slowly shifting to incorporate the everyday man and woman – and even entire families.
With that in mind, let us take a deeper look at the evolving golf industry:
Golf is no longer too time-consuming.
In the days of old, a single game of golf could consume upwards of five hours, barring any lunch or dinner commitments before or after the game. These days, many golf and country clubs are offering shorter rounds of golf – aptly named “PlayNine” – to fit the busy schedules of the younger demographic. These shorter rounds can also be used to introduce children to the sport.
Golf is no longer a rigid game.
Since the main goal seems to be attracting more millennials to the golf course, it should come as no surprise that the United States Golf Association has begun to adapt the game accordingly. For instance, over 30 major changes have been made to the game rules, granting players some slack when it comes to: dropping their ball, accidentally moving their ball, changing the pace of play, fixing spike marks, and so on.
In addition to these rule changes, many golf and country clubs have been making changes to their course rules as well. Specifically, these establishments that were once considered to be stuffy and exclusive are permitting new practices, such as: playing music on the golf course, expanding their bars’ inventories to include craft beers, and even partnering with local producers to create smaller menus.
Golf is entering the technological age.
Another way to pique millennials’ interest in golf is to incorporate it with something they hold near and dear: technology. Golf-centered technology comes in many forms, from sophisticated simulators to high-tech driving ranges. The most popular and most accessible these days is certainly wearable technology. This includes the traditional Fitbit, which can track a player’s steps and heart rate, or even Game Golf, which tracks and analyzes a player’s shot locations and club performances during any given round.
Some great strides have been made in improving the game of golf for the younger demographic! These advancements are helping millennials’ look at golf with an entirely different – and more open – mindset.