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Golf Marketing 101: Choosing The Right Demographic

Written by Rob Hoffman

We all have heard the old saying, “If a tree falls in the woods but nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same can be said for marketing efforts. If we send out the absolute perfect message or ad, but it doesn’t reach the right audience, will it be heard?

The answer is NO!

In any business, the most important marketing decision is recognizing your core demographic. We attend conferences and read articles banging on us about how important attracting Millenials is for the growth of the game. I, however, would like to dispel that myth and focus on a marketing and business fact in this article. Let’s take a look:

MYTH: Every industry must cater to millennials for success and growth to follow.

FACT: As a business, to be financially successful, you must target a demographic that fits your specific strategy.

Now, before the golf industry comes down on me for beginning to say millennials are not important, let me say they are. They are important for the growth of the game, and it is our responsibility in the industry to continue to help grow golf. It certainly is growing in that demographic, but it doesn’t matter TODAY to your bottom line. The millennials will begin spending with you when they are ready. TODAY, they are not.

Here are some additional demographic facts:

  • There are currently 83.6 million people aged 45-65 in the US, including 8 million that are golfers.*
  • This age group contributes 150 million rounds of golf per year and has a golf-related annual spend of $9 billion.*
  • This demographic is growing, and by 2050 will make up over 28% of the population (as today’s millennials reach that age).*
  • Over the last 30 years, 45-65 year olds have out-spent each of the other demographics.*
  • 45-65 year olds FIT the Golf Demographic perfectly:
    • 2 out of 3 claim they are not under financial stress.*
    • They are willing to invest in high dollar items.*
    • 61% in this demographic have more free time than younger demographics.*
    • Only 51% of this demographic remains employed full time, while the millennial demographic has 74% employed full time.*
    • The nests are empty, or the children are at least older and more independent adding to their free time.*
  • 75% of the 45-65 demographic report they are regular social media users, and 70% indicate they are likely to purchase from a business they follow in social media.*
  • 61% of mobile app users of Gallus clients are older than 55, and another 31% are between 35-54.*


There are so many key points to make from these facts, but here are a few I think are key:

  1. Older people are highly engaged with technology and thus with the marketing that’s produced within it.*
  2. This 45-65 demographic is where the bulk of a typical golf course’s revenue comes from.*
  3. This demographic has the most time to get on the course and play, or invest in joining a club.*
  4. They are intimately connected to millennials. Drive financial success now by focusing your programs on 45-65 year olds first, with a secondary emphasis on including their kids and grandchildren in golf/social events.*
  5. Millennials will reach this demographic and fit the same time and spending habits when their time arrives.*

Going back to talking “Marketing 101” for golf - being successful in who you market to means understanding the return on the marketing investment you would like to see. If your goal right now is to spend the bulk of your investment and time on a demographic that won’t have the time and money to play for 20 years, I hope your revenue is in a position to support that for the long haul. Ask what your current goals are for your marketing efforts, then execute in a corresponding manner.

You can have the same effect on millennials by concentrating the bulk of your marketing efforts on the demographic that can produce for you financially right now. Then, when the millennials of today reach that 45-65 demographic, your business will be in solid shape from years of reaping the financial rewards of marketing properly. Working capital will be healthy. The course conditions will be exemplary. The elder family members of this demographic will have been playing with you for years, and a snowball effect will take shape.

Rob Hoffman
Vice President of Gallus Golf
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Generational statistics from the National Golf Foundation/Dr. Alexis Abramson

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