How do you respond when asked if the golf industry is in trouble? What do you tell people (especially the ones who count on you for information) about the true state of the industry?
Since the end of Q1, we’ve seen an increase in print, Internet and broadcast news segments that use and misuse data (sometimes NGF’s) to sell their negative storylines. There’s no doubt golf is a highly-competitive market, but NGF data doesn’t support the doom and gloom story that’s being popularized in the media. Here’s a more accurate portrayal of the golf industry:
– Golf is not dying… it’s hyper-competitive
– The downward trajectory in golf participants has flattened and shown signs of stabilizing at approximately 25 million since 2011
– Three years of consistent data showing between 20-21 million “committed golfers” who indicate they will stay in the game
3-4 million new players enter the game each year (split approximately 50/50 between returning former golfers and complete newcomers), balancing a similar number of predominantly uncommitted and infrequent participants who leave… this is the churn that occurs in the gap between the population of committed golfers and the 25MM total participants
– Golf has a deep well of prospects (“latent demand” of nearly 29 million non-golfing Americans) who tell us they are interested in taking up the game now, proving that the appeal of recreational golf remains powerful