10 Nov Measuring Golf’s Vitality for 2017 – One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Welcome to 2017 golf season! It is here already. As we finalize turning the page on 2016 and begin a new professional golf season, my email confirmation for the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show (just received) prompts me to look ahead and invite others to think differently about golf’s vitality than in past years.
Specifically, I’m thinking about the traditional and single yardstick most golf journalists point to year after year in measuring golf’s vitality – the number of rounds played on an 18-hole course.
While an important measure, the traditional 18-hole-rounds-played stat should no longer stand alone as a “one size fits all” barometer of the game’s health. Even with a slight uptick in 18-hole rounds played in 2016, now is a good time to consider new ways to measure golf’s health.
It’s time for the golf industry and golf journalists to come together and acknowledge that golf has greatly diversified its supply chain and is now serving customers in new channels with new types of golf experiences.
What should the new metrics be? Now is the right time to get ahead of the business press by highlighting new benchmarks before the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show (an important stage for stories on golf’s health). The new reality is : Junior Golf – growing; girl’s tournament golf – growing; PGA Junior Golf – rapid acceptance; Top Golf – one of the fastest growing entertainment experiences in America (and yes, it actually involves swinging a golf club and having fun with friends and family).
It’s time to define golf’s vitality in new ways. I’m not sure, exactly, which metrics should be employed but I am certain that one definition no longer fits all the instances of how people are engaging with golf.