Market Focus: Golfers
Know Your Line of Play
If you’re not out on the green every weekend, you may think of golfers as a bunch of middle-aged, C-level executives schmoozing in silly hats. Then again, it might also be the young Tiger Woods, dapper in his crisp polos. So the real question is, who are golfers, really?
In the United States alone, there are approximately 26.2 million golfers, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), a Jupiter, Fla.-based company that offers golf-business research, information and consulting services. It further notes that they spent a total of $24.3 billion in 2002 on equipment and fees, making this a lucrative market.
With such a large pool, you’d think golfers would be easy to reach. But that’s precisely why you need to take a closer look at this market.
A Mixed Bag
NGF cites seniors—age 50 or older—as only 33 percent of the total number of U.S. golfers. NGF further estimates that within this demographic:
• more than 45 percent are between the ages of 18 and 39;
• 22 percent are female; and
• 22 percent are junior golfers between 5 and 17 years of age.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that every list will reflect these age variations.
A Fairway Full of List Choices
Looking at datacards, it seems that most of the big spenders in the industry are, in fact, the so-called typical golfers. They “are primarily older men with higher than average incomes,” says Bill Dreska, marketing manager at List Services Corp., which manages golf-centric lists Golfweek, Links and American Golf Players Association among others. Golfweek magazine subscribers have an average age of 53, and 94 percent are men.
Why the difference between the list demographic and the NGF’s findings? According to Dreska, “most lists are sourced from association memberships, product buyers or catalog buyers, golf travel, subscriptions, or services.” These are serious golfers, willing to make a serious investment in the game. The NGF defines a golfer as anyone more than 18 years old who has played one regulation round of golf in the past year. That’s a pretty wide net to try to cast.