Golf Goes Full Steam Ahead

By Rich Katz, Founder and Managing Director

This week’s annual National Golf Foundation Symposium was a hot ticket.  Roughly 130 industry leaders descended on Dallas for a sneak preview of data depicting important trends in golf.

Buffalo.Agency’s Founder and Managing Director was selected to attend.  So were Peter Hill and Alex Elmore, Chairman / CEO and President, respectively, of Billy Casper Golf, Buffalo’s parent company.

Proudly, the C-Suite from 12 Buffalo clients also absorbed the content.  They were 18Birdies, Arccos, Audubon International, Bridgestone Golf, Destination Kohler (Whistling Straits), ECCO, Global Value Commerce, GOLFTEC, PGA of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Topgolf and World Golf Foundation / WE ARE GOLF.

In addition, former PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was presented the 2018 Graffis Award.  Named in honor of NGF founders Herb and Joe Graffis, it honors leaders who extensively contribute to the business of golf and advancement of the game.

NGF research will soon be unveiled large scale, and it’s anticipated to show the number of overall and “committed” golfers are solid.  Then there’s the increasing number of participants at golf entertainment centers like Topgolf as well as driving ranges and indoor simulators.  Females as a growing segment golf on- and off-course population will also be reported.

Another important stat relates to latent demand. There’s an all-time high number of Americans “very interested” in taking up the game. That doesn’t include the countless who are “somewhat interested.”  Get Golf Ready, PGA Junior League, The First Tee, USGA-LPGA Girls Golf and other introductory programs are breaking barriers of entry and prompting beginners of all ages to get off their screens and on the links.  Impressively, the vast majority continue teeing it up frequently two years after hitting their first-ever shots.

Not to be outdone, let’s pair the NGF reveal with the recent WE ARE GOLF study showing the annual economic impact of golf in the U.S. is $84.1 billion, a 22% increase versus five years ago.

The punchline:  Golf should not be maligned.  One in three Americans either play or are interested to some extent in playing.  Ubiquitous and alive and well, the game also enjoys a future brimming with vitality.