Gone are the days when the first thing that comes to mind when you say the word “golf” are two old guys hashing out a business deal on the 16th green of the local country club. Well… Maybe not gone. But we’re getting there.
The game of golf is often traced back to it’s Scottish roots a little more than thirty years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Throughout the 17-19th centuries it’s been sanctioned in the pastimes of royalty and the upper class. However, a sport often stereotyped for old, wealthy, white men has gained unprecedented traction among millennials in the past few years.
For a generation that’s grown up with more and more technology, constantly glued to their mobile device and social media accounts, how has a game that requires such attention and patience garnered their support? The answer is simple: their own generation did it themselves. Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, and Jordan Spieth, some of the worlds best and most popular golfers, are all millennials.
How did this generation become so adept to golf? There’s one man to thank for that, and that’s Jordan Spieth. Spieth created a quiet firestorm when he became the number one ranked amateur in the world in 2012, turned pro halfway through his sophomore year at the University of Texas, and the rest is history. He’s already broken numerous records and made his mark in the amateur and professional levels of play. He’s only 22 years old. With his success he established a following of young athletes and gained the respect of the young and the old alike.
It was not only Spieth that attracted this audience, but social media as well. As the popularity among younger players rose, so did millennials’ online presence.
Ty Votaw, CMO of the PGA Tour, said it has seen a 43 percent increase in its website traffic from millennials year over year, while its Twitter followers went up 39 percent in the same timeframe.
Not only is this demographic participating in online discussion, they’re actually going out and playing too.
The PGA Tour said that 6.5 million millennials played 100 million rounds of golf in 2015. The age group made up 28 percent of all total golfers, mirroring its percentage in the population.
The past couple of years in golf have been some of the best years yet, with remarkable play from both the young guns and the seasoned veterans. If the PGA keeps up it’s successful pace on social media venues and the players keep, well, playing, then the future of golf is in good hands. Who knows, maybe Generation Z will follow in their predecessors footsteps and produce some of golf’s all-time greats.