also found that they want clubs to be flexible to meet their particular needs, Dorsey
said. So, that means having amenities and
pricing options that are attractive to them.
This was not a golf-specific study, but
private golf clubs can glean strategy from
it, Dorsey said. For instance, one of the
more striking findings is that cost is not
necessarily a prohibitive factor when it
comes to joining. Thirty-seven percent
said price is not a deal breaker. However,
they don’t want to fork over all their
money at once.
“The study found that a whopping 85
percent of millennials would be more
likely to join a club if the initiation fee
could be made in installments, in two or
three payments, instead of one lump sum,”
the report said.
They also seek more family-friendly
amenities, such as childcare, because older
millennials, who may have put off having
children, are having them now, Dorsey
And while it’s a common belief that
millennials prefer an urban lifestyle, that
changes once children come along.
“They move back to the suburbs,” he
said, noting that millennials give up city
living for the same reasons their parents
did: to get larger houses and send their
children to better schools.
OK, what about golf and millennials?
As noted by the New York Post, there
is a problem when it comes to keeping
millennials interested in golf. In 2013,
half of the 400,000 players who quit the
game were millennials, according to the
National Golf Foundation.
“It’s a game where the wrong shoes, shirt
or trousers can see you thrown off a golf
course and a game where it really does
take time, money, dedication and endless
practice to become anywhere approaching
competent,” the author wrote. “Put simply,
it’s not easy, and if it’s not easy, it’s not fun.
And if it’s not fun? Well, why bother?”
Millennials, however, do enjoy playing
the game — at least variations of it. Look
at Topgolf and its trendy driving ranges
that are a huge hit with that generation.
Topgolf locations offer music, big-screen
TVs, drinks and food in addition to golf.
You can challenge friends to driving con-
tests. The golf balls are equipped with
microchips that show how close you are to
Golf courses need to be more welcoming to millennials, particularly those new
to the game, Dorsey said. Topgolf works
because participants “can hack it up and
still have fun and not be embarrassed,”
“Let them see it’s
still fun,” Dorsey said,
adding that courses
should also look into
making lessons more
ClubCorp, the largest owner and operator of private golf
clubs in the nation,
is aggressively trying
to attract millennials.
One strategy is to offer
ships to those younger
than 40. ClubCorp
facilities also offer memberships that don’t
include golf. At those clubs, members can
use the fitness facilities, as well as partake
of dining and social amenities.
The under- 40 membership is the fast-est growing of all ClubCorp’s membership plans, said Duane Brown, general
manager at The Clubs of Prestonwood, a
ClubCorp course in Dallas.
“We’ve done a lot of things to attract
them,” he said, noting the wide range of
amenities offered, from a family swimming pool and mini-golf for children to
tennis and an outdoor bar.
The club holds a wide variety of events,
including Family Sunday Fundays and
The study on private clubs found that
millennials are one of a club’s most valuable resources for attracting other millennials. Forty-one percent said personal
recommendations are most important
when considering whether to join.
That echoes what Brown has found.
“The best thing about millennials is
that they refer their friends,” he said. “The
younger members are quick to bring their
One of the members at The Clubs
of Prestonwood is 30-year-old Taylor
Wilson. He joined after breaking up with
his girlfriend of three years. He suddenly
found himself with more spare time.
He’s an avid golfer, but he also enjoys the
club’s other amenities.
“The social scene is important,” he said.
“I didn’t want to join a club that was just
all about golf.”
Wilson also values the networking pos-
sibilities. As part of his job selling corpo-
rate benefit packages, he sometimes takes
clients to the course to play golf.
The study showed that 41 percent of
millennials viewed a club membership as
beneficial to their careers.
Wilson said his experience has been
nothing but positive since he joined a year
ago. He enjoys playing golf, networking
and socializing with friends in a friendly,
“What’s not to like?” he said.
big-screen TVs …