Sports and Entertainment
Not Your Dad's Golf Game: The PGA's Millennial Masters
Champions in Their 20s and and Social Media Bring Golf to Younger Fans
With a wave of innovation and an influx of millennial talent in its tournaments, golf is working to increase its appeal to a younger demographic.
Among the up-and-comers wowing crowds and changing the face of the game is Jason Day, 27, who won this month's PGA Championship with a record-setting 20-under-par score. And he's not the only one:
- Jordan Spieth, a 21-year-old, followed up a breakthrough Masters with a win at the U.S. Open
- Rory McIlroy, 26, won the Open Championship and PGA Championship last year
- Lexi Thompson, 20, has already won four LPGA tournaments
- Patrick Reed, a 24-year-old, was a standout at the Ryder Cup
- Rickie Fowler, 26, won the Players Championship earlier this season
The victories by younger golfers are helping the sport to engage millennials, said Jeff Price, chief commercial officer at the PGA of America.
Younger Golfers, Younger Fans
One effort aimed at the 18-34 group is Get Golf Ready, a program that offers instructions for beginners.
Another program targets online engagement. "As younger fans find new ways to follow their favorite sports, it's important to deliver great golf content to platforms that they use and in a voice that resonates with them," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in February as he announced Skratch TV, golf's first internet video network.
The network offers videos and content for the millennial audience in a voice that resonates with them. According to the National Golf Foundation, there are more than 6 million golfers between the ages of 18 and 34 in the United States.
The millennial marketing push extends beyond Skratch into social media strategy as well, in hopes of getting more young players participating in events and watching the newest golf greats.
"This generation of golfers are incredibly engaging both on and off the golf course," Price said. "As we look to grow the game, social experiences become incredibly important."
The organization is also targeting children with its PGA Junior League, introducing them to the sport and expecting that some of their parents will be interested too, Price said.
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Photo: Westend61/Getty Images | John Nestor is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured on websites including Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN.com and XNSports and in magazines including Golf Magazine and ESPN the Magazine.