GGA Insight
New Study Reveals The Truth About Millennial Golfers

• 75% of avid Millennial golfers will consider joining a private club in the future
• Age 33 is the ‘sweet spot’ when avid Millennials are most likely to join a club
• Flexibility, customization and non-golfer amenities among key solutions for clubs

Three-quarters of avid Millennial golfers will consider joining a private club in the future – with age 33 being the most likely age to join – but they are less minded to pay entrance fees, preferring flexible pay-for-use membership options.

These are the findings of a newly updated study, ‘The Truth About Millennial Golfers,’ published by GGA in collaboration with Millennial golfer organization Nextgengolf.

The survey of 2,275 active, avid golfers aged primarily 18-25 across the United States found that nearly half (48%) would consider joining a private club in the next 3-10 years.

The most influential factors in the decision to join a private club are recommendations from friends, family or colleagues (83%), a positive experience attending a tournament or wedding at the club (64%) and attending a reception or cocktail party to promote membership (25%).

However, the cost of membership combined with a fear of commitment and lack of utilization are among the most significant barriers to join a private club, the survey found.

Of those surveyed, 43% said they would prefer to pay more annually rather than an entrance fee, with 51% saying they would prefer a flexible membership combining a low social fee granting them full access to the club with golf on a pay-per-use basis.

The report highlights how private clubs can adapt and develop their offering to meet the needs of the next generation of members. Specifically, avid Millennial golfers see socializing and non-golf amenities such as fitness (71%), access for the entire family (65%) and a pool (62%) as important influencing factors in their decisions to join a private club.

Launching the report at the CMAA 91st World Conference in San Francisco, GGA Senior Manager Michael Gregory said: “To date there has been relatively little research into this group of golfers, yet they are the next generation of private club members and clubs need to factor this into today’s strategic planning and decision making.

“While it is reassuring that 75% of avid Millennial golfers are prepared to consider private club membership in the future, the reality is that they have different wants, needs and expectations. Clubs need to think about greater flexibility and customization in membership, targeting Millennials earlier when aspirations to join a club are higher and before family commitments kick in, plus the need for socializing and non-golf amenities.

“Otherwise, over the next ten years, private clubs vying for this target market will feel greater pressure to lower entrance fees and replace this cost with an annual capital fee.”

Matt Weinberger, COO and Co-Founder of Nextgengolf, said: “Our mission is to support, enable and provide opportunities for college students and golfers in their 20’s and 30’s – keeping them in the game and making golf more relevant.

“We hope this research provides valuable insights about Millennial golfers, the challenges they face and the opportunities for private clubs to help support the long-term sustainability of the game and the industry as a whole.”

The Truth About Millennial Golfers is available to download free of charge HERE.

Press Release – 9th March 2018.

  • Bennett DeLozier
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