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April 2018 Industry Report

Masters week is upon us. It will be exciting to see how the intrigue of Tiger back in the field will play out.


Know your demographic

The golf industry is in a tug-of-war between those who prefer a formal white tablecloth, candlelight dinner and those favoring an informal environment wherein jeans attire with quick table service is the norm.


The phrase “family friendly” appears in just about every piece of private club/resort marketing collateral.


While it’s important to be family inclusive, it’s critical to evaluate how many resources you commit to that may be a smaller segment of your membership than you realize.


Here are a few revealing statistics from the National Golf Foundation correlating age to rounds played.


Age: 40-49 – average 16 rounds per year

Age: 50-59 – average 19 rounds per year

Age: 60-69 – average 32 rounds per year

Age: 70+ – average 47 rounds per year

Summary: The statistics make sense. When kids become independent, parents have more free time to enjoy their hobbies/passions. Also, as the body ages, choice of sports becomes more limited. I have yet to see a 60 year old join in a pick-up basketball game.


The median age of a woman getting married in America is 26. For men, it’s 28. Using a broad assumption that most couples have their children within the first seven years of marriage, means a typical couple will be in their mid-50s by the time their children are self-sufficient.


So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the median age of a private club member is 56.


During your next management meeting, I encourage you to discuss if you are delivering what your demographic needs/wants or have you altered your mission statement, trying to capture the 35 year old couple, at the expense of the core of your membership that is likely a generation older.


I am by no means suggesting to drop a “family friendly culture.” Just be careful, as you continue to evaluate future services and policies, that you don’t alienate those who spend an outsized amount of time and money at your facility.


Another example of a rebound

Kiawah Island Resort made headlines in 1991 Ryder Cup that was dubbed “War by the Shore.”


The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Resort has long been at the top of every award and ranking in the golf hospitality industry.


In another example of golf’s revival, Kiawah Island Resort has announced a major expansion with a new beachfront hotel, cottages, a chapel, and conference facilities. More:


Burning 5,600 calories during a day of golf

Few destinations elicit a broader smile on a golfer’s face than Bandon Dunes. What started as a gutsy decision by owner Mike Keiser to build a David McLay Kidd design among the rural sand dunes of Oregon has grown into a five-course golf mecca.


The resort has one of the more unusual promotions I have heard of. Should you be one of the few each year that attempts to play all four courses in the same day, you pay 100% of the first course guest fee, 50% for the second, and the third round is complimentary.  After 72 holes of walking about 28 miles (and burning 5,600 calories), you receive a $100 bill from the golf shop staff when you complete your fourth round. Although few actually complete the challenge, it makes for great 19th hole conversation and reinforces the Bandon Dunes brand as the place for golf. More:

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