The golf industry is changing every year. Critics say the sport’s popularity is waning, that it’s too hard to get into and moves too slowly for our fast-paced society, but the data paints a different picture. Youth participation is up, and some studies find more people than ever are spending time at the driving range and participating in golfing activities. Learn the latest trends, shifts and predictions about golf.
Shorter Golf Courses Gain Popularity
People will probably always complain golf takes too long, but some games don’t take as long as they used to. Architects are designing with fewer holes, from family-friendly short courses to 12- hole executive courses. France is planning dozens of facilities they’re calling urban compact courses for the 2018 Ryder Cup, many of which have only nine holes.
The Wickburg Ranch Golf and Social Club has nine holes with no tee times required. For only $25 individuals can enjoy this par-3 course, playing after sunset on the four holes that remain lit into the night.
Youth Golf Participation Beats Other Sports
Game sponsors and nonprofit organizations have spent the last several years focusing on providing entry into the sport for children who otherwise might not have the chance. While youth participation in many sports continues to decline, golf is rising in popularity. A Sports and Fitness Industry Association report reveals the following:
- Football participation is down 17.9 percent.
- 21.6 percent fewer kids are playing volleyball.
- Softball participation has dropped by 11.2 percent.
- Wrestling’s popularity is down an astonishing 41.9 percent.
In contrast, golf involvement for youth has increased by 60.2 percent. The PGA Junior League Golf attracted 300 percent more kids in just three years and TGA has grown to serve more than 570,000 youth.
Most Sought After Architect
American golf course architect Gil Hanse founded Hanse Golf Course Design in 1993, and has become one of the most in-demand designers in the world. Officials hired Hanse to design The Rio Olympic Course in Brazil for golf’s return at the 2016 summer games. The course has 18 holes and 6,522 meters of shimmering green.
Mississippi’s Mossy Oak Golf Club offers unforgettable play and golfers eagerly await his redesign of Pinehurst No. 4. in Florida.
Top Resorts Invest in Golf Courses
Pinehurst isn’t the only golf resort investors are pouring money into. Sea Pines Resort opened the brand new Atlantic Dunes in South Carolina with massive greens and holes that are visually stunning. Several of the nation’s most popular courses are undergoing or have just completed extensive renovations, including the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass and the Monterey course at Pebble Beach Resorts. Players enjoy a Tom Doak course in Michigan they can play forward or backwards, and Atlanta’s Bobby Jones Golf Course offers flexibility with reversible nine holes.
Another trend changing golf courses across the nation is using golf course management software to maximize efficiency and boost profits. Golf is here to stay, so take your course into the future of the game when you check out foreUp’s all-in- one golf management software today.
Other Recent Golf Trends
- Glow-in-the-dark golf balls are offering players the opportunity to play with less light, as long as the course promotes it.
- Golf shoes are starting to get more unique designs with popular brands such as Air Jordans expected to enter the scene soon.
- Smartphone apps and wearable tech are set to enhance your play by offering valuable insight into swing habits and data.
- Golf that incorporates more cardiovascular activity will become a big new fad on courses across the country after critique regarding the lack of exercise involved in golf.
- Higher golfing participation across the country thanks to new golfing activities such as simulators, driving ranges and special golf facilities.
- There will be more diversity in the golfing world thanks to increased diversity in both ages and genders of golf players.
- More high schools are now offering golf teams, with around 42,000 children taking part in the PGA Jr. League Gold program for under 13s.
- Courses have been declining since 2006 due to the difficulties that country clubs have in recruiting new members to their private courses.
- Many golfing courses are now renovating in order to add new facilities and improve the overall golfing experience to stay up-to-date with competition.
- The definition of a golfer is moving away from the courses and more people are now casually identifying themselves as golfers thanks to increased accessibility.
- Golfing can now be seen in a more casual light thanks to golfing apparel that can be worn not just at the course, but also in the office and even the bar.
- Under Armour is set to expand into the golfing market by introducing a new range of golfing clothes that help wick body heat away during summer games.
- The blade is set to become an even more popular club for golfers, especially casual players that want to improve their game.
- Women's golf clothing is set to gain popularity thanks to companies like Antigua leading the charge with colourful clothing options that are LPGA approved.
- In the future, golfers will be more likely to use golfing apps than consulting caddies before a shot.
- The number of committed golfers (those who refer to golfing as their favourite activity or recreational pursuit) is growing and will continue to rise.
- Off-course golfing participants are also growing thanks to driving ranges and entertainment facilities.
- More realistic golfing simulators are set to release with support for virtual reality controls and experiences.
- Golfing has shown to be a popular sport for millennials due to it being a relaxing group activity and will continue to appeal to young adults.
- Golfing courses are introducing monthly fees instead of annual fees in order to attract wider audiences that want to try golfing short-term before investing.