The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 4

GROWING
THE GAME

Will TopGolf "Save" Golf?
By Jim Koppenhaver

4 The Pellucid PersPecTive

TOPGOLF.COM/US/SALT-LAKE-CITY

T

his article's headline seems like a pretty simple, straight- within that conversion rate is whether it's relatively balanced to
forward question, right? And I suppose that you're look- the guest demographics (i.e. we're converting 24% of Millennials
ing for the binary, yes/no answer to appear in these initial as well as 24% of the 35+ crowd and that we're getting 24% contwo sentences. As is usually the case however, the answer is more version among the males as well as the females, etc.) which would
nuanced and it's more deceptive than you think. The industry be both instructive and helpful.
cheerleaders believe it's the solution to our "Millennial challenge"
That aside, we can at least do the topline math on what Topand, as I discussed in last month's article, they're changing the Golf may be contributing to the golf participation base at current
industry health metrics to "engagement" beyond "play" to include outlets scale (i.e. not including or making assumptions for outlet
range-only golfers as well as the TopGolf-only crowd. In order to growth which is planned in '17 and beyond):
assess TopGolf 's draw and how it might change the shape (if not
* Start with 9.5M members across the properties (we're asthe size) of golf, it's instructive to take a look at their published
suming this is US, that could be inflated if it's worldwide
performance figures and demographics.
and just not properly footnoted in the figures provided)
From the fact sheet posted on their website (http://press.top* If 37% are non-golfers, we get 3.5M non-golfers exposed
golf.com/fact-sheets), we can glean the following summary facts:
via TopGolf
* 10.5M guests in '16, 9.5M TopGolf members (not sure
* At 24% conversion rate, we get 0.8M new golfers annuwhat the difference is but I'm guessing guests-only didn't
ally from TopGolf
play (i.e. they came to eat, drink, etc. but didn't get a card
That's a healthy number and should be moving the needle at
and play))
the national level. It should also be changing the demographics
* 52% of guests were 18-34 age (an additional 15% were of the new golfer base which should be showing up in a net in7-17 or Jrs as we describe in our golf participation seg- crease of Millennials playing the game. Unfortunately, neither of
ments). This is relatively healthy and skewed vs. the cur- these facts are corroborated or supported by the changes we see
rent golf participation where only 24% of participants (1+ in the national annual golfer survey. For instance, our inflow of
rds/yr) are 18-34
golfers has remained relatively steady at 2-2.5M according to the
* The TopGolf gender split is 68%/32% along male/female NGF annual turnover figures. The fact that this influx of Topwhich is slightly more skewed to females than the his- Golf neophytes isn't swelling that number suggests that it must
torical golf participation split of 75%/25% (one must also be supplanting something historical that was providing new golfrealize however that a significant attraction of TopGolf is er growth. The fact that Millennials as a share of golfers has been
"date night," while I don't think traditional golf will ever steadily declining as TopGolf has grown also seems to contradict
be confused with "how to impress your date")
the suggestion that we're getting a 37% non-golfer weighting and
* 37% of TopGolf guests are non-golfers (not clear wheth- a 24% conversion among that particular age group. To be clear,
er that's never-evers or not last years)
I'm not saying this is empirical truth because we all know that
* Of their golfers, roughly 79% fall in
the non-Avid frequency group (deTopGolf Salt Lake City
fined as 1-24 rds/yr, aligning with the
NGF historical segmentation) which
means that, among their current golfer
base, the involvement "curve" is similar
to that of traditional golf participants
(i.e. they're more heavily skewed to the
low engagement golfer)
* From a different infographic, we also
learn that, according to a '15 NGF
survey of TopGolf guests, roughly 24%
took up golf after playing at TopGolf
So, on the surface, some good, bad, some
indifferent in the above figures. The skew to
Millennials is helpful while the slight "draw"
bias to females isn't enough to make a difference (in my opinion) and the overall conversion rate isn't bad. What we don't know

May 2017


http://press.topgolf.com/fact-sheets http://press.topgolf.com/fact-sheets http://www.TOPGOLF.COM/US/SALT-LAKE-CITY

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017

TOC
ClubCorp withdraws sale offer, Affeldt to retire as CEO
Will TopGolf “Save” Golf?
EZLinks and TeeOff.com experience system outage
Mobile Apps and MAC Addresses: Is the golf industry paying attention?
April golf weather impact: Nice “bounce” to open northern season
April golf weather impact: Nice “bounce” to open northern season
Operators haven’t lost heart in San Francisco
Trolling for Millennials
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - ClubCorp withdraws sale offer, Affeldt to retire as CEO
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - Will TopGolf “Save” Golf?
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 5
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - EZLinks and TeeOff.com experience system outage
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - Mobile Apps and MAC Addresses: Is the golf industry paying attention?
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - April golf weather impact: Nice “bounce” to open northern season
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 9
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 10
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - Operators haven’t lost heart in San Francisco
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - May 2017 - Trolling for Millennials
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