'Baby Boomer' Golf Boom Won’t Be So Big

A warning from the National Golf Foundation: The swelling population of retiring baby boomers isn’t going to give golf operations a significant bump. “Golf courses and golf businesses should curb their expectations, because this generation of retirees may not be golfing as much as their predecessors,” the NGF advises. To be sure, the NGF isn’t telling us to turn out the lights because the party is over. But not so long ago, the group believed that advancing armies of baby boomers would lift golf to dreamy heights. Today, the impact of the baby boomers “is expected to be less than we hoped for.” So how can golf courses generate more play? According to the NGF, there’s only one route out of our current predicament. “In order for the industry to sustain success and enjoy future growth it is vital for golf businesses to focus on increasing frequency of play by current golfers and getting new golfers to play the game.” Yes, it’s a message we’ve heard many times previously. If the golf industry truly seeks growth, it might start by focusing on female golfers. Women are more than half of the U.S. population, but they make up only 19.3 percent of active golfers.