Top golf bringing new players into golf, survey shows

Topgolf is helping bring more players into golf, acting as a bridge to turn non-golfers into passionate golfers, according to a recent study by the National Golf Foundation.

Topgolf, which is growing quickly with 40 venues and 13 million guests in the past year, blends technology and entertainment to revamp the driving range and make it an entertainment complex. 

The NGF looked at two types of Topgolf guests: those who play traditional on-course golf (golfers) and those who don't (non-golfers).

The survey found that, among Topgolf guests, 29 percent of golfers say that playing Topgolf leads them to play more traditional golf. Almost a quarter of golfers, 23 percent, follow the sport more closely as a result of playing Topgolf. More than half of the non-golfers surveyed, 53 percent, say that playing Topgolf has positively influenced their interest in playing traditional golf.

“Topgolf's success is proof that interest in the traditional game is massive, and Topgolf is an approachable place where golf's 'latent demand' activates that interest,” said Greg Nathan, NGF's chief business officer.

NGF sent the survey to a sample of 1,542 Topgolf guests in August, 2017. Additional survey findings show that 23 percent of new golfers surveyed, who have been playing for three years or less, started playing golf after their first Topgolf experience. Of those, nearly 75 percent say Topgolf influenced their decision to play golf.

Also, 75 percent of non-golfers say they are interested in playing golf on a course.

But not every observer agrees with the survey results.

“The key question is, 'What is the conversion rate among Topgolfers to taking up traditional golf?' wrote Jim Koppenhaver, a consultant and data analyst in a blog post. 

Koppenhaver said Topgolf could be "net neutral", meaning it attracts new people into golf, but also siphons golfers away from traditional golf courses, due to its higher entertainment value.  

Topgolf recently announced it would sell its proprietary technology, Toptracer, to golf courses and driving ranges. Toptracer, tracks the flight path, height, speed and distance of every golf shot and displays it on a screen. The technology is frequently seen on television broadcasts of professional golf tournaments.

According to the NGF survey, 96 percent of current Topgolf guests find the Toptracer technology appealing. In addition, 43 percent say that Toptracer likely will drive them to visit more frequently.

"We have a mantra — 'What's good for Topgolf is good for golf, and vice versa," said Topgolf Entertainment Group Executive Chairman Erik Anderson. "We're thrilled to see more people experiencing and enjoying the game."

Comments

This place is awesome! I went with my golf buddies and our wives, who don't really play golf. The girls giggled so much we had to get the music turned up! They had a ball and it was a great way to be together, have some very good food and drinks, and compete in a friendly, warm environment. I lost $20 to my buddy when he bladed a 9 iron into the 135 yard target bullseye, but it was worth every penny!! GO AND TRY THIS> GO HUNGRY AND EXPECT GREAT THINGS!!!

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