The Younger Generation of Golf Fans Have Arrived and They’re Here to Stay
They’re young, they’re boisterous, and they are here to stay. The new generation of golf fans have arrived and rightfully so. The game of golf has never been in a better state and it’s surprisingly thanks to a bunch of 20-something year olds.
27-year-old Jason Day has shown his dominance as of late with the impressive run he has put together. 22-year-old Jordan Spieth proved how special he is by winning the first two majors of the year and adding another 14 top 10s to go along with it. 26-year-old Rickie Fowler made a statement himself by silencing the critics at THE PLAYERS Championship and last year it was 26-year old Rory McIlroy who was winning multiple majors and running things on TOUR.
Golf is in good hands with these young guns leading the forefront, but with their emergence in the game, so come new golf fans. The way your grandpa watched golf will never be the same.
The way the new generation of golfers enjoy the game isn’t like it was in the days of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Tournaments are becoming more like parties, music is being played on the course, and beer is being consumed. Lots and lots of beer.
There’s no better example than the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Over the years, the event has become one of the biggest party stops on the PGA TOUR. It’s hard to believe there was a time when stands didn’t totally enclose the 16th hole. Days when Tiger Woods was just getting started. Here’s Tiger hitting an ace on the 16th in 1997.
The scene has certainly changed because now the entire hole is surrounded by stadium seating. It’s becoming a massive party, as Arizona State students plan their entire year around the event and golf fans come from far to be a part of the biggest party in golf. If you caught any of the action this past year, then you got a first-hand look at how much of a drunken event the tournament has become. 18 years after Tiger’s ace, here is Francesco Molinari doing the same.
My goodness, talk about a beer shower. The hole has evolved into one of the most anticipated stops on TOUR and the golfers absolutely love the environment.
Organizers of the Waste Management Phoenix Open have realized how successful the 16th hole has become. They are now adding more boxes and luxury suites on the par-4 17th hole with the hopes of expanding the party.
Another great example of younger fans evolving tournaments is the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas. I had the opportunity to experience the event first hand this past year and it is quite the spectacle. As one patron described it, “It’s a party with a golf tournament going on.”
All of the ladies use it as an excuse to put on their finest garb, while the guys use it as an excuse to get their drink on. The tournament is great, but the real party begins when the final group walks off 18 and the fans head to the pavilion for concerts and more drinking.
Technology has also played a big role in the transformation of this generation of golf fans. If you ever pay attention to the golfers when they are on the range, you’ll see the golfers constantly on their phones. Sure they’re texting their honeys, but it’s also their obsession with the slow-motion cameras. Golfers have their caddies film their swings so they can analyze what they’re doing wrong and how they can fix it.
The amateur golfer is starting to pick up on this strategy as well. Smart phones are starting to play a tremendous role in helping amateurs improve their game. There are GPS apps golfers can use to navigate their way around courses and there are also apps that keep track of how well you are playing, collecting statistics and distances during rounds.
Say goodbye of silence on a golf course because music is making its way onto the scene. Golfers are now bringing their iHomes and iPod players out to the course to enjoy some tunes. It may be a nuisance to some, but I’m all for it. It’s bringing fun to a game that’s getting a bad reputation for being boring and is starting to attract a new wave of golfers. Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing golf carts being made with speakers already on them and USB ports built in to charge phones and play music.
Have you noticed how much more colorful golf tournaments have gotten? With golfers getting a bolder style, fans of the game are starting take notice. Neon colors and flat bills are becoming commonplace as kids try imitating their favorite golfer, whether it’s Rickie Fowler or Rory McIlroy.
And then there is Top Golf, which has forever changed the way people enjoy driving ranges. If you are unfamiliar with Top Golf, imagine your neighborhood driving range, inject it with steroids, and put a bar next to it.
It’s a multi-level driving range with targets scattered all over, which keeps track of where your ball lands so participants can play all kinds of point-based games. Oh, and there’s a up-style bar located within each Top Golf to enjoy dinner and drinks while you play. Think of a bowling alley for golf.
The state of golf is in a fantastic place on the course and Millennials are taking over off the course. The traditional ways of enjoying the game of golf are being tossed out the window, as a new wave of fans take over. We’re rowdy, we’re bold, and we’re not going anywhere. Say hello to the new generation of golf fans.