Lists Golfers May Be Hole-in-One Targets (862 words)
By Kate Mason
Imagine a typical American golfer. Do you picture an older gentleman playing a pristine, private course, donning plaid pants, while deepening his perpetual, George Hamilton-inspired tan? If so, think again.
Who They Are
Perhaps surprisingly, the average age of the some 26.4 million U.S. golf enthusiasts is 39 years, and 75 percent of active golfers play on public, not private, courses. "There is a perception that golf has been a game for older, retired men," says Judy Thompson, director of media relations, National Golf Foundation. "But while the typical golfer is male, the average age has been fairly young all along."
What makes this demographic so desirable, however, is that its youth is often paired with affluence. "Golf is a pretty expensive game," explains Doug Sauerhaft, director of marketing for Mal Dunn Associates, a national list services and rental firm. "These golfers may not be playing at country clubs, but they certainly have money—they have disposable incomes, they pay over $1,000 for a set of clubs, and will often pay between $130 and $140 for a round of golf."
Golfers represent not only an affluent demographic, but a well-educated and discriminating one as well. Jennifer Shultz, promotional director for Golf Digest magazine, compares the publication's subscriber list to the those of Forbes, Fortune and Business Week. "We essentially have the same demographic, so it's not a problem getting companies like, for example, IBM, to realize that golfers are a great and valuable market." Shultz adds that more than a hundred companies currently rent subscriber lists from the Golf Company, which includes Golf Digest, Golf For Women, Golf World and Golf World Business.
WHAT THEY BUY
Golfers spend substantial amounts of money on purchases such as clubs, sportswear and course fees. According to Steve Jones, vice president of direct marketing for Golfsmith, a multi-channel retailer of golf products, "The golfer is unique in that he wants anything new that he thinks can improve his game, whether it's a new club or the latest training aid."