Golf for millennials: fast, arcade-style, boozy
On Friday nights, millennials are flocking to a driving range to play a sport that experts say they have little interest in.
Some even say the sport is dying, citing the lagging sales of golf equipment and apparel and steep decline in television ratings. In April, the final round of the Masters drew its lowest ratings since 2004, and this month the U.S. Women’s Open garnered just 760,000 viewers, its worst showing on record.
But Topgolf, a high-tech driving range and entertainment compa- ny, has set out to prove otherwise. It thinks millennials might well be the key to reviving interest in the sport. The company has tapped into the social potential for golf, creating a space best described as “where a lounge meets a tee box.”
Topgolf is at once old-fashioned (a little bit like Skee-Ball) and modern (technology lets you track your performance, shot by shot — and compete with your friends). And the setting is loud and lively, not your typical back-nine fare.
After launching in England in 2000, Topgolf came to the states in 2005 when it opened in Alexandria, Va. It now has 30 U.S. loca- tions and 33 worldwide.
Cineplex this week signed an exclusive partnership deal to open Topgolf complexes across Canada over the next several years.
“Our core business is really nice,” Topgolf CEO Erik Anderson said. “If you go from 30 to 40 in a year, that’s 33 per cent. So that’s pretty good.”
“Clearly we have struck a chord with millennials,” he added.
At Topgolf, customers can play a number of games, but in the most common one they hit golf balls with a microchip inside it.