1. The ability to get together with friends The only place to get a group of guys or group of girls together—all from outside their family/household bubbles—for a couple of hours and have fun is on the golf course. “The reality is that there are few activities available right now where people can get together and enjoy the company of friends and family,” says Brian Decker, the director of marketing and communications at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley. “Golf is uniquely positioned to give people a safe way to do just that, and we feel that if we can give people an outlet to get away from the stresses of this crisis, we’re playing a small role in our collective recovery,” As millennials, we’re used to having constant connection with people. Sure, we have been able to digitally connect with our colleagues and have made headway in virtual game nights or catch-up drinks over the last 90 days or so, but there’s nothing like in-person connection. Playing golf allows for that.
2. Digital-first communicationMillennials are strapped to their phone—there’s no way around that. It’s not as though phone usage should be looked as a negative, either. Phones these days are used for banking and work connections, not just games or dating apps. Golf courses have done a fantastic job with their digital communication strategies as they open across Canada in the time of COVID-19.
You’d be hard-pressed not to find courses using new features on Instagram, like the ‘Story’ function to show the different things golfers can expect at clubs upon arrival and through their round during the time of COVID-19.
“All of our member communication about our COVID-19 procedures has been done through our broadcast emails. We have also used video and provided the links,” says Dave Fox, the general manager at Islington Golf Club.While many golf courses struggled to dedicate time and personal to marketing and communications, one thing COVID-19 has helped to boost is the social and digital relevancy of golf clubs. This is a positive as many millennials, and many for the first time, will be searching and following golf courses they want to play. The information provided, through digital and social channels, is the perfect way to connect with millennials.
3. Social SharingMillennials are the earliest adaptors of social media, and as such, there are approximately 3.5 billion millennial social media users in the world. Golf provides the perfect canvas for millennials to want to share their experiences on social media. Whether you’ve been able to get together with your friends for the first time in months, you’ve been able to buy a beer from a bar (or in this case, a halfway house or clubhouse) for the first time this summer, or you’ve caught the perfect late-afternoon light—posting about your day on a golf course is millennial friendly. “Social media has always been a priority for us in communicating/marketing to the travelling golfer,” says Mark McLane, the executive director of Golf Prince Edward Island, who says the agency’s Facebook page prompted nearly 20,000 website views in April alone. McLane says—with only 27 coronavirus cases on PEI and no deaths—the islands reputation for safety and tranquility has promoted groups who usually travel internationally (including to the U.S.) for golf wishing to come to the island. A Canadian golf trip experience is an ideal platform for social sharing, and whether it’s wrapped in food, friendship, or, of course, the golf, millennials love the opportunity to snap a picture and click share.
4. ExerciseWith no gym facilities open across Canada, millennials are looking for places to exercise that isn’t usually their kitchen, bedroom, or basement. Golf Canada research suggests players burn approximately 2000-2500 calories during a round while walking a minimum of 9,000 metres. Golfers will exceed 10,000 steps over 18 holes.
The golf course is not just a place to get together with friends for a hot dog at the turn, but it’s a place to burn off the one-too-many hotdogs from being quarantined.
My scores haven’t been great and that’s an understatement. But there were some numbers I liked from a recent round: 13,000 steps taken and 9 kilometres walked while climbing the equivalent of 23 floors. My mantra: Golf is good for me. https://t.co/lEm7xfuRVF— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) June 16, 2020
5. Sense of NormalcyIf there were one place where millennials could feel as if they were participating in a “normal” activity, it would be the golf course. Those lucky enough to have access to a car can jump in it, see their friends or family members at the parking lot of the golf course, play 18 holes together and catch up, and then drive home. “The tee sheet has been busy. We couldn’t accommodate all the requests to play the first weekend,” says Fox from Islington, showing that people are just anxious to get back to something that makes them feel as if they are doing something as normal as possible these days. From a business standpoint as well, the golf industry in Canada has a $19.7-billion impact on economic activity in the country. According to recent Carleton University COVID-19 stats, younger Canadians are more bullish about reopening the economy.
“Golf employs a ton of people,” says Sam Wills, a PGA of Canada Assistant Professional at Deer Valley Golf Club in Regina. “From an economic standpoint, getting golf courses getting open is a great thing.”