As I mentioned in this recent blog, the Canadian census shows an aging Canadian population, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody with the number of baby boomers turning 65 or approaching that milestone birthday.
That blog shows that the number of Canadians aged 65 or older grew by 14.1 per cent between 2006 and 2011. Seniors accounted for 14.8 per cent of the population in 2011 and the 60 to 64 age group grew 29 per cent since 2006.
You can read all of the numbers by reading the previous blog, but it’s clear that the boomers are a demographic that golf, or any business for that matter, can’t ignore. It also includes many of today’s core golfers either at or approaching age 65.
Attention to specific needs will be important in retaining those existing golfers going forward and it also presents an opportunity to grow the game through senior golfers who may not have played before, but are still healthy enough to participate.
To their credit, many seniors remain active and, as a whole, it’s fair to say that they are more active than any generation that went before them, so golf could become attractive to those whose only experience might only be at the local mini-putt.
They may have the time after they retire, or even as they wind down their careers, but do they have the means? Many do these days, but many face fixed incomes, so affordability, as it is with other demographics, may be an issue.
Should there be an emphasis on nine-hole golf, or the 12-hole brand that we’ve talked about on GNN previously or is the 18-hole concept etched in stone?
Does golf, including your own operation, make a point of visiting senior centres, groups or other organizations that focus on the 60-something or above crowd to get its message across?
Are you satisfied that golf equipment not only has the technology to help them enjoy the game more, but also provides them with limited vibration in the clubs or specific grips that might encourage play from somebody with arthritis, for example?
Of course, many seniors are young at heart, but is there a good balance of apparel offerings in the shop that appeal to both the fashion forward senior golfers and those who prefer more traditional, basic golf fashion?
It’s difficult to stereotype seniors for several reasons, including the difference in health, finances and personal tastes, which makes this demographic complex.
While one person may need a safety bar to hold on to in the shower, another might not, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to have one installed just for safety reasons?
The key appears to be offering more options, the opportunity to play nine or 18 holes, buy a variety of various apparel offerings, etc. as we try to appeal as best we can to an aging population these days.
That brings us to our GNN Poll, which considers the question of what’s ahead for senior golf in Canada.
In your opinion, is golf, in general, properly prepared to attract the growing number of Canadian seniors to the game?
- NO (85%)
- YES (15%)
If you’d like to offer your opinion or an idea to bring more seniors into the game, please tee it up in the Comments section below this blog.