The title of this blog sounds like a cheesy tv mini-series.
But the Millennials are the talk of the golf world. Last month’s “Twin Cities Business” magazine had a feature article about how golf courses need to capture this young market. And every national golf magazine is harping on the same subject. Yet the ones really agonizing about why young people aren’t playing enough golf are the golf organizations such as the PGA, USGA, and NGCOA.
So what are the common themes shared by these hand-wringers? Tiger Woods, time, and money. Let’s talk about each one of these “issues”.
First off … Eldrick Woods. Tiger has really been struggling lately (when he even plays). But Tiger hasn’t been Tiger ever since his “car accident”. Obviously his domination couldn’t go on forever … but he may have fallen off the world. Did Woods cause the so-called golf boom? I never thought so. He helped – especially with televised golf – but golf was going to expand anyway in the 90’s because Baby Boomers were ready to get into golf – men and women. Are the Millennials obsessed with Tiger? I don’t think so – he’s even too old for most of them. If Woods does come roaring back, he probably won’t bring many Millennials with him.
The second “issue” is money. Money can always be an issue – that’s too easy of an excuse. The reality is that people have money for what they love.
The third “issue” is time. Same as money – time can always be an issue – and that’s also too easy of an excuse. Time and money. Have you been to any of these cool, hip, new restaurants lately? They are stuffed with Millennials. Money? These places aren’t cheap. Time – they’re in no hurry to leave. They LOVE these places.
So – what is the conclusion? Well, Tiger Woods is the not the golf savior for the Millennials … and never was. Time and money? They have both – contrary to what you read. They have the time and money for what they love. Maybe they aren’t in love with golf – or the places selling golf.
What is obvious about these sold-out restaurants is that they are all tasteful and fun. Are the distasteful and unfun restaurants sold-out? Are maybe too many golf operations distasteful and unfun?
Now it gets interesting … how to do this? Taste … wow – that’s a loaded concept. I think good taste is basically an appreciation of quality. Not that something has to be perfect or the best … it has to be good. Is that glamor? Usually not. Glamor is about trying to hide poor quality with glitz. Too many expensive places have poor quality and too much glitz. These Millennials seem to be appreciative of authentic quality.
What about fun? I think golf is basically fun. It doesn’t need all of these cutesy ideas that I keep reading about. But, many golf courses are too stiff. These cool, hip restaurants are not stiff. They aren’t cutesy and they aren’t crazy. In fact, I’ve experienced very nice young people with nice manners in these restaurants. Golf is not naturally a stiff game. Golf is a social game. Unfortunately, too many country clubs adopted an uptight atmosphere hoping that it would enhance the image of their club. This kind of desperate social climbing is never attractive. I’m glad these Millennials see through this facade.
Golf will attract the Millennials if golf clubs have a quality operation – an attractive fun course, cool carts, tasty food & beverage, a stylish Pro shop, a charming clubhouse, and a friendly atmosphere. Is this rocket-science? Hardly. Restaurants are figuring it out … and the ones who aren’t won’t survive. Same with golf courses.
What about the PGA Tour? I’ll save that for another time.
GM and Head Golf Professional