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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 296
VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. IS GOLF MISSING ITS TARGET? H ere’s a simple question with a myriad of complex answers: Does golf target the wrong demographic in its efforts to ‘grow the game’? There appears to be a near obsession currently with trying to attract ‘millennials’ and while that is a noble goal on paper it is one that I believe is ultimately flawed. There are myriad reasons why those in the 22- 37 age bracket (the accepted ‘millennial’ dates) aren’t playing golf and almost none anything to do with the game itself. These are the years when the demands on one’s time – by others, mostly – are at their peak and even the much vaunted ‘short’ forms of golf don’t solve this problem. Family and work commitments mean little opportunity for leisure as parents spend much of their weekend ferrying kids to and from sport and social engagements. Even committed and passionate golfers tend to play a lot less during these years than any other time. Efforts to ‘sell’ the game to this generation will always have the worst return on investment because it’s a product many simply aren’t in a position to buy, even if they want to. What golf really needs to do – for both the short and long-term health of the game – is focus on both the 40 and over age group as well as school aged children. The need to encourage junior golf is self- explanatory but pursuing the over 40s is a sensible – and immediate – way to boost playing and membership numbers. This often overlooked demographic contains both former players – most of whom have stopped for all the aforementioned reasons – as well as those looking for a new recreational/ competitive pursuit. It’s not uncommon to meet both men and women who have come to golf later in life because they can no longer compete at their chosen sport. It’s an ideal competitive outlet for the ageing warrior while at the same time appeals to those less interested in competition but looking for a recreation that combines social interaction with a bit of exercise. With both time and money in better supply, golf is surely a more appealing and feasible proposition in middle age than at any other time in life? Some will argue that targeting older players is short sighted and puts at risk the future of the game and that would be true – if nothing was done at the other end of the age scale. A solid base of junior golfers coupled with healthy participation among the over 40s allows for the game to thrive despite the natural and unavoidable attrition that takes place in the middle years. It is often said golf is a game for life and it is. It’s just that for many, there needs to be a break in the middle to get a bunch of other life stuff done.
GA Express 295
GA Express 297