No Time for Golf

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There is a fundament change in the perception of Golf.  From 2003 to 2014, the number of golfers in the US has dropped by  6.5 million from 30.6 million players to 24.1million players. In Japan the fall has even outpaced the growth of golf in places like China and India. But most significantly and most concerning is the dramatic drop in youth participation which has dropped 30% over the past two decades. This has seen the average age of the active golfers (play at least once-a-week) in England rocket from 48 years (2009) to 63 years (in 2014)  as reported by Bloomberg1.

 

The cause of the drop of popularity of the game can be attributed to two factors: time and complexity of the game. In today's fast paced and permanently connected lifestyle - fewer people have the time to dedicate to a full day in order to play 18 holes. Golf has also been losing its key status within the corporate world as the dejure method of networking. The time it takes to play 18 holes, the notorious complexity, historic rules and traditions are increasingly a turn- off to an urban elite who may be cash rich but short of time.

 

Declining popularity of golf and golf resorts

 

The attraction of a golf resort is the access to a top golf course. It is therefore a concern that the interest and popularity of golf is in decline - especially considering the steep drop in youth interest.

 

Although property values are unlikely to decline overnight (and may way see an increase in the short term due to demographics) - the longer term trend could see a decline in property values. However Resort managers and residents can take action to address these concerns and ensure continued appreciation over time. As reported by Bloomberg1, these include some of the same actions that the professional golfing associations are undertaking which include:

 

  • Promoting new fast playing golf formats (9 holes or European PGA Golfsixes)
  • Easier and shorter courses
  • More casual relaxed atmosphere (less enforcement of traditional rules and traditions)
  • Leveraging driving ranges and new games formats designed around a driving range format. (Fast, quick paced game).
  • Shorter courses but leveraging newly available land for new leisure activities
  • Active promotion of kids golf activities.

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Another key concern for Golf resort managers and property owners is the changing tastes of the Millennials and Generation X when compared to the Boomer generation. To these younger cohorts - authentic experiences are significantly more valued than material possessions. In order to appeal to the younger generation - having a golf course by a beach will not be sufficient. We recommend that resorts:

 

  • Adopt a more urban feel but maintain the positive natural aspects.
  • Attract authentic and artisanal craftsman which include - craft brewers or small exclusive vintners, specialist coffee baristas, etc.
  • Revaluate the resorts activities and focus on unique one of a kind experiences.
  • Limit the environmental impact of the golf course by having an environmental strategy - dedicated habitat for preserving specific species, renewable energy, etc.
  • Consider shared work spaces (open offices) where residents can network and manage their business in a professional and social environment.

 

Do you like these ideas - please contact us to provide your feedback or to comment on our article.

 

1Bloomberg.com

 

3 April 2017

 

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