In this era of clubfitting and adjustable clubs, the message is sinking in that one size does not fit all in the utensils of the game.
The unique needs and requirements of a multitude of demographic groups are varied and may even clash at times, making target demographics an important consideration for golf course operators.
Can one golf course fit all tastes and lifestyle choices? Can you keep everybody happy and be all things to all people?
It’s a noble pursuit, but there are a lot of moving targets as new trends take hold and demographics shift.
Try as we might to please everybody, it might be a losing battle, which makes knowing your customers and communicating with them more important than ever.
A couple of weeks ago, we brought up the growing number of seniors within the Canadian population, according to the recent census.
The number of people either at or within sight of age 65 are the ones we’ve been calling our “core golfers” for several years. Will they play more golf or less golf in retirement? Are they affluent through pensions and investments, or on fixed incomes?
All of that may differ from region to region in Canada and it may be that there are several sub-categories within the senior market, all with various requirements if they are to play the game.
All the while, a great emphasis has been put on junior golf, which is the future of the game. One of the ways to build a junior program is to include mom and dad, so family golf becomes an important aspect to building that demographic.
So, what are the needs of these different demographics? Who do you cater to when stocking your pro shop? How do they prefer their lessons — in a group setting or private one-on-one instruction?
It affects all areas of a golf operation. For example, more people are calling for healthy choices in a food and beverage operation, but burgers are still a traditional favourite as GNN blogger Tiffany Gordon will point out in a blog next week.
Along with healthy choices in diet, are you willing to allow golfers to walk, even if golf carts are a revenue source?
Your food and beverage operation may also need to change in order to accommodate various ethnic groups as the number of immigrants to this country continues to grow, making this demographic a large one for golf.
The shifting trends and demographics of our population consisting of splinter groups only reflects what golf faces now and in the future.
The challenge is spotting trends and getting a good idea of not only your membership or public golfers, but also the market in which you operate.
It’s an endeavor in which no national strategy provide the answers for your particular market and it’s getting more complicated all the time.
The key is getting involved in the community, member/client surveys and something as simple as walking the range regularly to not only see who’s using your facility, but also to respect their opinions, thoughts and comments.
Such a diverse population and potential client base can certainly be a key to growing the game, but getting a handle on who comprises your market requires constant communication.
THE SHORT GAME: North Vancouver’s Eugene Wong will make his professional debut this week at the Canadian Tour’s Players Cup in Winnipeg, followed by the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in a couple of weeks. Wong, a PAC 12 player of the year and first team all-American in his senior year, won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2010 and helped Oregon to the NCAA semi-finals this year. He has signed with IMG and has agreed to an endorsement deal with Nike Golf … These days, it’s not uncommon to see athletes baring it all in calendars and magazines and former CN Canadian Women’s Open champ Suzann Pettersen has joined that trend with a tasteful photo in the Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine, which hits news stands Friday. For more, click here.