Golf is Fun Right?
Golf is supposed to be fun right?! Do you ever wonder why there are less and less young people on golf courses? Besides the fact that it takes too long, could it be that it just is not fun enough to be engaging?
Our Top Golf Experience
One company that has excelled at bringing fun to golf (and is making a fortune doing it) is Top Golf. This winter we had our first (2nd and 3rd) Top Golf experiences. One in Mesa, Arizona and two in Las Vegas. The experiences were slightly different as each location is built to cater to the specific area they are located in but one thing was clear – everyone was having fun. Heaps of it! And oh yeah, the other thing that was clear is that we were old.
We visited Top Golf in Mesa on a Friday night and the average age of the crowd was between 18 and 25. There was a 2 hour wait for one of the 100 bays and most of the people we saw having fun while we walked around were ‘non-golfers’. There was date night (stilettos and all), girls night, a bachelorette party, guys night out, families with young kids…and all of them were eating, drinking, laughing and having fun…all while swinging a golf club and aiming at a target. It sounds like golf but it is really an ingenious way of making the game fun and appealing to those who may never have tried it.
Lessons from Top Golf
So what can regular (non-cash rich) facilities learn from Top Golf? Here are a few ideas that we came up with. Non of these ideas are new, but we all just need reminding sometimes.
~ Make it easier. Golf is too hard. The End. So make it easier. Quick Tees/Forward Tees or whatever you want to call them are a necessity to get new golfers out. Programs that promote these are needed everywhere so they become the norm not the exception.
~ Make it faster. Golf Courses are rarely full. When they are not they should consider offering 9 holes, 6 holes or even 3 holes. At any time of day. There are logistical difficulties to this that need to be overcome but the time it takes to play needs to shrink. A lot. Another option here is Speedgolf.
~ Be open to new things.
- The debate over music on the course is not going away. Some people just prefer doing any activity with a sound track in the background. Get used to it. You might even be able to make some money.
- Golf Boards, Solo Riders, Turf Choppers, Golf Bikes and more. They are here and more are coming. Give the people what they want. Something fun.
- Make a game of it. Come up with other ways to track a ‘score’ that measures and improves skill development in a fun way, rather than a handicap and a traditional score. There are a few ideas out there but none have caught on yet. This is a tough one but we are brainstorming on it.
- Golf Courses are intimidating to new comers. Top Golf creates new golfers by having them pick up a club for the first time. What if every time someone came into your facility for another reason (say Mother’s Day Brunch) you gave all the self described non-golfers a voucher for a free bucket of range balls?
~ Forget the rules. There has to be many opportunities to play the game without rules. This is directed at the leagues, clubs, or whatever your course calls them that are struggling for participants but can’t get out of their own way to welcome in new ones.
~ Accept Reality. If you can’t fill your golf course with golfers then try to fill the empty times with someone else. Footgolf has had success is some markets. Disk golf? Walking Trials? Cross country ski club? There are outdoor activities that people want to do and you have the land. What options are viable?
So if we can all agree that Top Golf is helping the Industry by putting golf clubs into the hands of those who would likely not ever hold one then the next question is how to get those that really enjoy their Top Golf experience onto the closest links?
Coming Soon – Part Two – Bridging the Gap from Top Golf to Golf Course
We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf for 10 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.