With 13 million customer visits last year, Topgolf is expected to continue growth at a rapid clip and plans to open about 10 venues annually for the foreseeable future. The game is a microcosm of golf itself, like miniature golf, except the point is to drive or pitch the ball at targets rather than to putt it very short distances. Indeed, Topgolf is a far more physical activity. So should marketers of golf, a sport that has been losing players for over 10 years, be worried about this product substitute?
On the contrary, the PGA and LPGA now have partnerships with Topgolf in the hopes that players will also become both fans and players of the traditional sport with the result of shoring up dwindling ranks of customers. This hope especially extends to the 19-36, Millennial crowd, which is by far the largest age demographic for Topgolf. And the younger, 18-and-under generation represents the second largest group of customers. This really is good news for all golf-related products. Right now, about half of all Topgolf players are "non-golfers", and so marketers do appear to have a stable of prospects who are already swinging clubs, with more joining in every day. All these marketers have to do is convince them to embrace golf itself. It seems like a fairly easy task. Perhaps there are also opportunities at miniature golf facilities as well. It is clear that relying on the "star power" of Tiger Woods" is a terrible marketing strategy, and golf marketers must get more creative. Let's see if they can turn things around.
Discussion: Do you think that Topgolf players are really good prospects to play golf itself? What can marketers do to develop this market potential?
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