US Golf and Golf Tourism Market Report 2023
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“Golf’s popularity had been in decline in the US for the first two decades of the millennium – then came the pandemic and participation spiked. Golf continues to enjoy renewed…

US Golf and Golf Tourism Market Report 2023

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Stay ahead of the curve and secure future growth for your business with Mintel’s US Golf and Golf Tourism Market Report 2023. Our full report is packed with consumer-led market intelligence, the latest trends and consumer behaviours affecting your industry. Get a 360° view of the US Golf industry including market landscape, consumer demographics and market opportunities.

Below, we’ve handpicked the key insights analysed in the full report and summarised the core topics.

Key Topics Covered in this Report

  • The demographics of golfers, people who follow golf, people that go to golf entertainment venues and go on golf vacations
  • Reasons why people don’t play golf, or don’t play golf more frequently
  • How people watch golf, and what advertisers can do to reach them effectively
  • What golf vacationers are looking for in a golf trip intent to play golf
  • How golf entertainment venues complement traditional course play
  • Attitudes about how golf fits in with modern social trends

US Golf Industry – Current Landscape

Golf has been enjoying a surge in popularity in America since the pandemic, and its appeal is broadening. The sport is most popular with the under-35 contingent of both sexes, and 26% of Hispanics report playing golf in the last year. 

Golf is increasingly becoming multi-platform content, while 92% of golf followers turn to TV or streaming for content, 43% of consumers say social channels are part of their golf watching experience.

US Golf Industry – What’s next for the market?

As previously discussed, golf media is omnichannel, highlighting that brands wanting to reach golf consumers need multichannel strategies to be effective and stay relevant, particularly to younger golf fans. 

Over a quarter of US golfers say that a barrier to them playing is that golf is too weather-dependent, and over a third say that it is too expensive. These challenges create an opportunity for golf entertainment venues, which can capitalise on lower price points, shelter from weather, and flexibility in how much time guests can spend at the venue.

Purchase our full report to learn more about the US Golf and Golf Tourism Market, including consumer demographics, how people watch golf, and golf vacation consumer behaviour. Readers of this report may also be interested in US Golf, Tennis & Auto Racing Market Report 2021.

Expert Insights from a Travel and Leisure Analyst

This report, written by Mike Gallinari, a leading travel and leisure analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the US Golf and Golf Tourism market and add expert context to the numbers.

Golf’s popularity had been in decline in the US for the first two decades of the millennium – then came the pandemic and participation spiked. Golf continues to enjoy renewed interest and a broad shift in consumer perceptions. However, continued growth in course play will be challenged by the hectic realities of modern life. Meanwhile, the perception of golf being more for the common American is threatened to be exposed as a veneer. If golf cannot keep evolving, it will stagnate and more modern golf entertainment venues will overtake it.

Mike Gallinari, Travel & Leisure AnalystMike Gallinari
Senior Travel & Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top Takeaways
                • Consumer trends
                  • Entertainment venues can capitalize on course play’s struggles
                    • Figure 1: Top three barriers to golfing, golfers vs non-golfers, 2023
                  • Media needs to meet golf followers wherever they are
                    • Figure 2: Methods of following golf coverage, by age group, 2023
                  • Golf’s image needs pre-habilitation
                    • Figure 3: Attitudes toward golf’s role in social issues and sustainability, 2023
                  • Competitive strategies
                    • The sport should continue pushing inclusion with clear messaging
                      • Figure 4: Make Golf Your Thing, Instagram page, 2023
                    • Appeal to the vacationer, not just the golfer
                      • Apps bring increased socialization to groups of golfing friends
                        • Market predictions
                          • Golf has to market itself as more engaging to maintain pandemic-era momentum
                            • Figure 5: Golf outlook, 2023-28
                          • Opportunities
                            • Golf entertainment is broadly relevant to young consumers
                              • Figure 6: Attitudes toward golf entertainment, by gender and age group, 2023
                            • Viewing habits make digital platforms the go-to for advertisers
                              • Figure 7: Golf branding awareness, by age group, 2023
                            • Emphasize the vacation, not the golf
                              • Figure 8: TURF Analysis – Golf vacation factors, 2023
                          • Golfing Landscape

                              • Golf equipment sales spike due to the pandemic, remain strong
                                • Figure 9: Golf equipment ownership and purchasing, last 12 months, 2023
                              • Pro golf leagues fight for the soul of the sport
                              • Golf Followers

                                • Relatively high bar to participate can be limiting interest in golf
                                  • Figure 10: Regularly watched men’s and women’s sports, 2023
                                • Golf fans can be found in unexpected places
                                  • Figure 11: Demos for men’s and women’s golf followers, 2023
                              • Market Drivers

                                • Pressure is easing, making golf and golf tourism more affordable
                                  • Figure 12: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2007-23
                                  • Figure 13: Inflation rate and wage growth, 2020-23
                                • Drops in leisure time, sports match duration could spur golf to pare down
                                  • Figure 14: Time spent on leisure and sports (including travel) and working, average hours per day, 2013-22
                                • Kids remain disinterested in golf, even when seeking non-contact options
                                  • Figure 15: Tween and teen sports fandom by sport, by age, 2022
                              • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                  • Identity
                                    • Golf needs to avoid the NHL’s slip-up
                                      • Figure 16: Make Golf Your Thing, Instagram page, 2023
                                    • AT&T drives home golfer’s background with Hispanic viewers
                                      • Figure 17: AT&T “Connecting Changes Everything: Lizette Salas” ad, 2023
                                    • Topgolf signifies its modern values with Special Olympic event
                                      • Figure 18: Special Olympics partnership with Topgolf, Twitter post, 2023
                                    • Experiences
                                      • Topgolf campaign focuses on experience, but may not quite speak the language
                                        • Figure 19: Topgolf “Come Play Around” ad, 2022
                                      • Upper Deck Golf gives golfers a new view of the sport
                                        • Figure 20: Upper Deck Golf YouTube ad, 2023
                                      • Minneapolis offers a tee time before takeoff
                                        • Figure 21: PGA MSP Airport, Instagram reel, traveler photos, 2023
                                      • Technology
                                        • PuttView X AR glasses offer a view into a possible future
                                          • Figure 22: PuttView X, Instagram post, 2023
                                        • Digital connectivity breathes more life into socialization
                                          • Figure 23: Fairgame Golf, Instagram page/post, 2023
                                      • The Golf Consumer – Fast Facts

                                        • Who’s playing golf?
                                          • What’s stopping everyone else?
                                            • How do people follow golf?
                                              • What’s the best way to reach those consumers?
                                                • What makes for a good golf vacation?
                                                  • How do people view golf?
                                                  • Golf Consumers

                                                    • Different types of golf offer opportunities to expand the sport
                                                      • Figure 24: Golf activities, 2023
                                                    • Demographics of golf participants break traditional stereotypes
                                                        • Figure 25: Participation in select golf activities, by key demographics, 2023
                                                      • Golf entertainment goes hand-in-hand with links play
                                                          • Figure 26: Golf activities among golf fans, 2023
                                                          • Figure 27: EA Sports PGA Tour livetweet with @TheMasters, 2023
                                                        • Courses benefit from side activities, but don’t have same social appeal
                                                          • Figure 28: Attitudes toward golf entertainment, 2023
                                                        • Younger consumers see golf entertainment as multipurpose
                                                          • Figure 29: Attitudes toward golf entertainment, by gender and age group, 2023
                                                        • Attraction to video games underlines the free time problem
                                                          • Figure 30: Attitudes toward golf entertainment, by work location, 2023
                                                      • Barriers to Golfing

                                                        • Golfing’s barriers create opportunities for golf entertainment venues
                                                          • Figure 31: Barriers to golfing, golfers vs non-golfers, 2023
                                                        • Courses contend with consumers’ money and time constraints
                                                          • Figure 32: Barriers to golfing, by HHI, 2023
                                                        • Entertainment venues may have a leg up on courses among golf-interested remote workers
                                                          • Figure 33: Barriers to golfing, by work location, 2023
                                                      • Following Golf Coverage

                                                        • Television rules, but social is climbing
                                                          • Figure 34: Methods of following golf coverage, 2023
                                                          • Figure 35: Golf Channel viewing habits and platforms, last 30 days, by golf fandom, 2023
                                                        • A diverse media plan reaches the current participation base
                                                          • Figure 36: Methods of following golf coverage, by age group, 2023
                                                        • Key golf demos are engaged across platforms
                                                          • Figure 37: Repertoire of methods of following golf coverage, 2023
                                                        • Golf fans wish for new approaches to golf coverage
                                                          • Figure 38: Attitudes toward golf coverage, 2023
                                                        • Unique coverage can shore up future fans
                                                          • Figure 39: Attitudes toward golf coverage, by gender and age group, 2023
                                                      • Golf and Advertising

                                                        • Apparel and commercials are best for retention, but brands may be out of touch
                                                          • Figure 40: Golf branding awareness, 2023
                                                        • Digital habits make commercials, apparel less effective
                                                          • Figure 41: Golf branding awareness, by age group, 2023
                                                        • Sponsorship is effective, but can be out of touch
                                                          • Figure 42: Attitudes toward brand sponsorships, 2023
                                                      • Golf Vacations

                                                        • Golf vacations are more than just golf
                                                          • Figure 43: Golf vacation factors, 2023
                                                          • Figure 44: Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area CVB tweet, 2023
                                                        • Outdoor activities can help move the needle among vacation planners
                                                          • Figure 45: TURF Analysis – Golf vacation factors, 2023
                                                        • Playing golf on vacation has limited appeal, even among golfers
                                                          • Figure 46: Golf played on vacation, 2022-23
                                                      • Golf’s Role in Society

                                                        • Participants more likely to be aware of golf’s problematic history
                                                          • Figure 47: Attitudes toward golf’s role in social issues, 2023
                                                        • Black consumers and Hispanic consumers see a different side
                                                          • Figure 48: Attitudes toward golf’s role in social issues, by race and Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                        • Dispel class notions to attract consumers with time to golf
                                                          • Figure 49: Attitudes toward class and golf, by work location, 2023
                                                        • Golf fans have opinions as to the harm (or good) courses bring
                                                          • Figure 50: Attitudes toward sustainability, 2023
                                                        • Flaming clubhouses – the future’s symbol of rebellion?
                                                          • Figure 51: Attitudes toward sustainability, 2023
                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                        • Data sources
                                                          • Sales data
                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                  • Terms
                                                                  • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                      • Figure 52: Table – TURF Analysis – Golf vacation factors, 2023
                                                                    • Methodology

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