Video golf more popular than ‘real’ golf, study shows

Mar 7, 2013   //   by Mike   //   Latest News  //  Comments Off on Video golf more popular than ‘real’ golf, study shows

Some interesting new research released from the US on a very good potential new golfer market segment- video “gamers”. It fits in perfectly to the golfer segments identified in this region that we are wanting to target- juniors and women.

“Since 1986, the National Golf Foundation (NGF) has surveyed a representative sample of 40,000 Americans to determine the number of golf participants. They reported earlier this year that the 2011 results yielded an estimate of 25.7 Million people (aged 6 and over) who played at least one round of golf. 

One area of interest that NGF examined for the first time this year was golf “gamers”. 

So, how many Americans played golf on a video game in 2011?

Turns out, there were approximately 56 Million people (*18% of population) who played golf on a video game in 2011, more than double the number of golf participants!

Not surprisingly, 40% of current golfers played golf on a video game (10.2MM); but more interesting were the 18% of non-golfers who played golf on a video game last year.  This equates to approximately 46 Million “golf gamers” who don’t currently play golf, a significant opportunity for conversion. Nearly seven million of those non-golfing gamers were lapsed golfers with 39 million who have never played golf on a golf course before.    

22% of non-golfing golf gamers are interested in playing golf now.  (They noted “Very” or “Somewhat interested” when asked about their interest in playing golf now). This compares to only 7% of their non-gaming counterparts.  NGF estimates there are approximately 10 Million individuals from the non-golfing, golf gamer set with un-activated demand for playing the real thing.  

Who are they?  They’re young – and females make up a more significant proportion than we are used to seeing in the current golfing population. 

Over half of the golf gamers are under the age of 30 (51%).  In fact, 29% are juniors (age 6-17)

Of note is the fact that females make up 44% of golf gamers, a significantly higher proportion than we currently see in the golfing population where only 19% are female.

Golf gaming represents a promising gateway to growing participation among younger and female Americans.” 

So how do the above stats translate to Australia and New Zealand? If we took 18% of the 25mil population in this region, we are looking at app. 4.5mil video gamers. A 2009 Aussie report though said that 2/3 of Australians are gamers so this number is most likely much higher!

As an industry we need to start investigating ways to leverage off this huge potential golfing market. There is already the infrastructure to possibly work from such as the website World Golf Tour or we contact Nintendo (WII golf) and see what they can offer. We can organise and promote an Aussie/NZ golf tour that can all be done via the comfort of our homes. The advertising revenue can be leveraged off the back of it to make the entire thing sustainable.

On a minimum we would start growing a great database with the right demographic, and potentially get some of them on a path to trying the real game and eventually become members.

Source: NGF National Participation Research

Related: Who do you consider to be a real golfer?