Nextgengolf Releases Annual Study on Millennial Golf Community

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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 are below.
  • Millennials find golf relevant. Many love golf but also 10 other activities equally.
    • The concept of ‘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 (see bullet 2).
  • Millennials request flexibility when joining a private club.
    • This research showed 16% of millennials are already private club members but, for another 63% looking to join in the future, clubs who modify their traditional up-front 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 proven to be successful. In general, millennials would prefer to pay more annually rather than invest a large amount in an initiation fee. Thus, 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 out there, data shows that on-course rounds are not negatively impacted; 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. A lot of narratives are out there suggesting more technology/music is the missing piece for attracting millennials. 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 came in as far more significant. See Figure 8 for the full list.
Additionally, courses should focus on these types of social activities to attract
millennials to their facility and offer added value through off-course experiences.
Thanks to our friends at GGA Partners for their work on the study and the CMAA for their support.