The recent discussion about the growing number of seniors in Canada highlights the importance of golf operations constantly looking at their demographics and making sure they’re catering to those groups.
In the case of seniors, one simple thing that we’ve done here at Cottonwood is put in a fifth teeing area, which are our bronze tees, to make landing areas more attainable for those who wish to use them.
Distances change over the years, but the positive for seniors is that there have been so many technologies emerge in equipment the past decade or so to help them achieve more distance with accuracy.
We want seniors to continue playing and enjoying the game, but if they’re beating themselves up, we run the risk of losing that demographic and it’s getting larger all the time.
Not all that long ago, we were calling them our core golfers, but now they’re approaching retirement age if they’re not already there, so it’s important for golf to pay attention to their needs.
We’re finding that people play more golf or they decide to do different things.
If a couple retires, they might look at more travel, or playing different golf courses. Maybe, the social aspect of golf isn’t as important because they’d rather do different things, so your programs need to evolve with that.
We can’t ignore any demographic, but we have to be specific while targeting people. We certainly can’t lose sight of the senior portion of the market, especially since our senior league here at Cottonwood used to get 30 people out, but we’re double that now.
I’m finding that a lot of people are semi-retired as opposed to retired. There was a time when they were either going all-out with work, or they were retired, but more people seem to be winding it down, or transitioning, as opposed to stopping.
With that group, they might not be playing 24 rounds, but maybe 50 or 60, while those fully-retired might even play more.
Within this demographic, there are different needs and wants that need to be addressed through golf course design, programs and other aspects of golf operation, even food and beverage. While many are on a fixed income, they are buying new equipment.
It’s like they’ve been waiting all of their working lives to be able to play golf about every day. They have the time to commit to it and we don’t want to lose this demographic. It’s one that golf needs to be cognizant of as it grows in Canada over the next few years.