Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Core Golfers & Technology

The National Golf Foundation recently released a report called “Core Golfers & Technology – Engagement with the Digital World, Including Social Media.”  I wanted to pass along some of the key findings along with my thoughts about their implications for golf entrepreneurs.

The data focuses on “Core” golfers, which accounts for 14.8 million of the 26.1 million total golfers in the United States.  “Core” golfers play 8+ rounds per year and are a critical market for most companies in the golf industry to capture. 

Here are the highlights:

Internet / App Use:
% or #
Researched Golf Equipment Online
84% (30% purchased)
Downloaded Golf Related App
2.4 million, or almost 20%
Would prefer high tech device in app form over dedicated device
4.3 million, or 29%
Regularly read blogs/reviews about golf brands, courses or travel
4.6 million, or 31%
Use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter
71% (compared to 56% of nt’l pop)

All numbers from this chart are increasing significantly by the year.  For example, mobile app downloads for golf-related items are double in 2011 what they were in 2010 across several categories, including apps to: receive industry news, engage with specific brands, book tee times, track scores/handicap and measure distances.

Turning now to marketing and brand engagement, core golfers had this to say about how they prefer to connect and interact with brands:

Communication Preference – Email vs. Social Media:
Social Network Service

Likelihood to Increase Loyalty & Expenditure:
Social Media Service

Email remains consumer’s overwhelming preference for engaging with golf brands but the gap is closing while both communication venues are increasingly important for building loyalty.

Here’s what I think it means:

The takeaways from this data will vary depending on your niche in the industry, but I think there are a couple of overarching themes for all of us:

1.    Golfers are increasingly using the Internet for golf research and purchases so you need to be there with an engaging website that includes blogs, reviews and other relevant information.

2.    A strong email marketing campaign (and thus a large and growing email database) is essential for communicating with customers.

3.    An active and relevant social media campaign is less important right now than email marketing but this gap is closing so it’s time to get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others with a well-planned strategy.

4.    If a mobile application is relevant to your business in any way, develop and deploy it.

Good luck and happy entrepreneuring!


  1. Wade J Pudwill, ASLA, LEED Green Assoc.March 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Hello Steve,

    I agree, more people are engaging internet websites and baby-boomers are more tech savvy than you think. They are learning to manipulate several types of social media outlets to stay in touch with loved ones. What a cost effective way for us to “stay-in-touch” with not only our immediate community, but beyond. Many of these sites also send notifications via email for quick-time updating on current events. This could be extremely effective in managing club activities and increasing member participation. This may be a skill set we should add to our marketing department (Sales/Social Media Representative) in keeping the lines of communication open and engaging?

    Thanks for all you do Steve!

    Wade J Pudwill, ASLA, LEED® Green Assoc.
    913 Dorset Way
    Trent Woods, NC 28562

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