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Golf Business Future
In the last few years, we have seen a number of golf course workouts. This has been fueled in part by a lack of demand for residential development around courses and a general decline in the popularity of golf. Golf in Michigan has many variables to be successful. Many of which center around weather, which is an uncontrollable operational variable. An elongated season with vibrant April and October play can boost the impact of the five month close of no play. Rounds were down in 2014 mostly due to fewer playable days. Golf is under increasing pressure to speed up play as millennials are not prepared to devote a half day to partake in this sport. Virtual golf apps are gaining in popularity as players can play a game within a game where points for accuracy are compiled rather than score and without a 4-5 hour time commitment. Golf courses have been coming up with promotions (“kids ride free”) or getting their professionals out on the course to promote the game rather than be shirt sales people.
New young stars on the tour (Spieth, McIlroy and Fowler) may help reignite a youth segment that was responsible for some of the last decades’ growth. Youth participation declined every year since 2004 and is now finally experiencing modest increases fueled in part by greater participation of girls. The key to the future is to make the game user friendly, develop our youth as future consumers and make the professional staff active in promoting the game with clinics and member play.