Friday, April 10, 2015

Millennials don't play golf.

In 2014, participation in golf fell for the fifth year in a row.  Among adults 18-34, the decline from 2009 to 2013 was 13%. 

Why?  It's slow, takes a long time to play and it's expensive, says Matt Powell, a SportsOneSource analyst.  He also points out that as a sport it doesn't reflect the kind of values that millennials care about such as diversity and inclusion.  (Germano, 2014)

As you might imagine tv ratings are down too.  So the PGA Tour is trying to engage fans, and enlarge their fan base, through a loyalty program.  Fans get "mPoints" for doing things like checking on the tours, sharing content, selecting favorite players, viewing scorecards and signing up for fantasy golf tournaments.  The points can then be redeemed for things like gift cards to Starbucks.

While the tour's properties reach about a million fans a day, the loyalty partner they have chosen -- SessionM -- reaches about 80 million people a day through about 1,500 programs for leading brands including NASCAR and the New England Patriots. (Greenberg, 2015)

So what do you think?  Can they build a fan base even if people don't play golf?
Germano, S. (2014, August 1)  A Game of Golf?  Not for Many Millennials.  Retrieved April 9, 2015, from

Greenberg, K. (2015, April 8)  PGA Tour Launches reward Program Offering Points For Digital Engagement.  Retrieved April 9, from


  1. I do not believe that a significant Millennial fan base can be created by the PGA's campaign. SessionM has their work cut out for them, to say the least. Current pop culture trends include the latest foolery by Kim Kardashian, the newest single from A$AP Rocky or Taylor Swift and what's new on Tinder, not the game of golf. The game does not resonate with this generation and has a stigma of being "your father's (or grandfather's) game. Furthermore, with this generation identifying as more diverse than any before it, the classical notion that gof is a game purely for aristocratic, suit & tie wearing caucasian males still persists. The game also just isn't practical for young adults to play. This demo isn't usually replete with disposable income to cover necessary costs so this is yet another negative sticking point. PGA should look into a revised communication plan and re-branding the sport which would strike accord with Millennials.


  2. I think this strategy is extremely poor, and unsustainable. The entire goal is to increase engagement, however, how much of that engagement is authentic. Even if they receive a lot of social support from consumers, once the PGA is over, wont the engagement cease as well- leaving PGA in same position they were to begin with. I will say, that existing golf fans are die-hard golf fans. I think there is a better way to increase authentic interest and engagement with the golf community rather than a broad reaching rewards program.