Engaging the Millennial Generation

by | Jun 5, 2019 | In the News | 0 comments

Lessons From Top Golf

For nearly 100 years, the country club was the center of the social universe for many Americans. It was where business was done, generations grew up, families had fun, and members dined often.

This is still the case, but nearly as much. The cost to join, time to play, and difficulty of the game remain a real concern for membership growth at all private clubs. More notably, a club membership is not as appealing to the technology obsessed, time-compressed, inclusive minded (and not exclusive), and less country club-oriented Millennial generation as it was for aspirational Baby Boomers and their parents.

Enter Topgolf, a remarkable disruptive innovation. Who would have thought a driving range could be morphed into a $20 million per year golf and entertainment business with over 400,000 visits annually at a typical location? Yet, it is high-tech golf, fun, and entertainment that is relevant to anyone under age 50. Corporations and charities are actually moving their golf annual outings to Topgolf.

The lesson from Topgolf for those of us on the real grass side of the business is we have to make our clubs as high-tech as possible, change the décor from traditional to more modern, relax our dress codes and club rules, be heavy into social media, and be flexible in our membership structures. Add robust fitness and wellness programs too.

Of course, the golf and country club is not going away nor is Topgolf taking over the industry. However, unless we embrace this sea change that is happening and offer progressive golf and entertainment experiences to the Millennials and those that follow them, we may quickly find ourselves irrelevant.

The Merions and Medinahs of the world need not worry. The rest of us should be concerned – and adapting.

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