Has TopGolf Helped Boost Golf's Popularity?

Golf is experiencing a major evolution and jump in popularity that hasn’t been seen since Tiger Woods first starting winning title after title, after even more titles, nearly 20 years ago.  And TopGolf is playing a major role.  With 50+ TopGolf facilities sprawled across the U.S. and internationally, with more scheduled to open soon, golf is seeing a new face, expanding beyond the idea of the sometimes stodgy traditional golf course to an edgier, more youthful vibe.

What is TopGolf and Why are Golf Courses Excited About It?

TopGolf is more nightclub than country club as players hit microchipped golf balls from personal heated bays aiming for a giant dartboard-like targets on an enormous field, all set to pumping music and colorful, vibrant lights. And while the main event is golf, TopGolf also offers food, drinks, and other entertainment like pool, games, and dancing.

Certainly a far cry from your traditional 18 rounds. 

And while you may assume that TopGolf would face resistance from traditional golf courses, that’s not the case.  In fact, traditional golf courses along with the golf industry as a whole including the PGA and LPGA, is welcoming this new evolution in golf. They’re excited that people are playing the game, even if it’s in the form of a revamped, off-course experience.

The next challenge is how do you convert off-course players to on-course players? Well, the golf industry is all in, creating strategic partnerships with TopGolf to create new fans as well as taking a page out of their book, redesigning on-course experiences to provide a more social, interactive, and fun atmosphere.

And it seems to be working. The National Golf Foundation reported that total golf participation in 2018 increased to 33.5 million players with 9.3 million of that total accounting for off-course participation at facilities like TopGolf. With the advent of off-course facilities like TopGolf, the game is growing in popularity with an estimated 2.6 million beginner golfers playing a traditional course for the first time — near record levels for beginner participation.

TopGolf’s Impact on the “Millennial Factor”

In attracting players to the game of golf, the golf industry has found success in drawing in young, junior players as well members of the older generation.  Where the industry has struggled is, you guessed it, attracting millennials to the game.  

But, TopGolf seems to have figured out the trick in marketing to and drawing in the millennial and gen Zer crowd as the majority of TopGolf guests, at 54%, are between the ages of 18 and 34. 

The more relaxed, welcoming, and social atmosphere certainly factors into the popularity of TopGolf among the younger generation, with many using TopGolf as a place to conduct meetings and business deals just like your traditional golf course — some customs never change. 

And millennials aren’t the only newbies entering the game. TopGolf is helping to create a space in the golf world for a wider demographic of players with women making up around 35% of new players and 26% of beginners are non-Caucasian.

TopGolf provides a unique platform for non-golfers and beginners to get into the game without any pressure or the fear of embarrassment — at 51%, over half of all TopGolf guests are non-golfers. And of those non-golfers who visited TopGolf, 75% said they now had an interest in playing golf on a real course.

It seems that TopGolf has created a resurgence of interest in playing golf, introducing an entirely new generation to the enjoyment and excitement of the game.

Photo credit: https://topgolf.com/us/

Frank Jermusek

Frank Jermusek, J.D.

President / Managing Director

Frank Jermusek is a Principal at SVN | Northco headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. SVN has become one of the most recognized commercial real estate brands in the world with over 200 offices globally.