NGF: Creating better golf consumers

Attracting new players is vital for the industry’s growth, but a new NGF study indicates helping “core” golfers improve their game may be just as valuable.

The study measured the relationship between golfers’ scores and their passion for the game.

Core golfers – individuals who play eight or more rounds annually – were asked: “All things considered, how would you rate your passion for playing golf?” Respondents could choose from “0” (not at all passionate) to “10” (extremely passionate).

Participants also were asked for their average score on an 18-hole regulation course.

The results showed a correlation between the two: The higher the passion, the better the score and vice versa.

According to the survey’s findings, golfers’ passion begins to intensify once they break 100 regularly. Once their scores drop under 90, their passion increases to the 9-10 range.

Considering passionate golfers are likely to play – and spend – more, increasing their numbers makes good business sense.

Other key findings:

• 95 percent of core golfers have a strong desire to improve

• 80 percent say they are willing to work on their game

• 81 percent believe they are capable of improving

However. . .

• Only 23 percent took a golf lesson in the past 12 months

• 40 percent don’t know of a teaching professional they could go to

The NGF study offers the following conclusion: “There are plenty of players who want to improve and believe they can do so with the help of a golf professional. Time and money are barriers to golf instruction, no doubt, but they are surmountable barriers for the majority of golfers. Course operators need to get their pros out on the range engaging customers. Maybe the first step is a brief lesson or a clinic – what about after-work clinics that are fun and sociable? – eventually progressing to one-on-one instruction. As in virtually every endeavor, you have to ask for the order.”

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