Market Focus: Golfers: In the Green, on the Green
You may not picture golfers as seekers of luxury and quality—in fact, if you’re not a golfer yourself, you probably picture them only as older men wearing plaid pants and berets with pom-poms on top. But if that’s your mental image of golfers, you’re missing out on a great market with dollars to spend.
“Golfers tend to seek out a luxurious type of experience with all of the products and services that they buy,” says Jon Last, vice president of corporate marketing, research and brand development for Golf Digest Publications. “In a lot of the research that we have conducted, the golf market tends to outspend even the most generally affluent people when you are looking in categories like travel, automobiles and real estate and, obviously, within the golf categories as well.”
A Course in Golfers
According to the National Golf Foundation’s 2007 golf participation study, there were 28.7 million golfers age 6 and above in the U.S. in 2006. The primary demographic for golfers is men ages 35 to 64, says Lincoln Cox, vice president of marketing for golf retailer and cataloger Edwin Watts Golf, while senior men and women of all ages also play. In addition, Last says there’s been an influx of younger people taking up the sport.
Golfers swing their clubs all over the U.S. “Between 10 [percent] and 11 percent of the population plays golf at least once a year; but as you get into larger metropolitan areas, those numbers tend to increase because there’s more money—and when there’s more money, more people tend to play golf,” says Robbie Wooten, president of Impact Golf Marketing, which markets golf courses. In some of the larger metropolitan areas of the country, golf participation can soar to 20 percent.
While golfers tend to be affluent, you can find players at every income level. Says Wooten, “You have your very, very price-conscious players and guys who, as long as they’re getting their value for their money and the experience is great, will pay anything. There’s a fairly wide range of golfer types out there.”