TV viewership of live golf events is down. Same for merchandise sales and actual participation in the sport. And the golf industry blames the millennials.
But it’s not giving up on the demographic just yet. According to Adweek, brands are doing what they can to appeal to these 18- to 34-year-olds. And that includes the PGA.
“We can’t hide from millennials not playing the game as much as they could,” said Kevin Ring, CMO of the PGA. “We have to find ways of growing and evolving our social channels and digital platforms. We are in the middle of a transformational moment.”
To that end, the organization that has allowed fans to vote on a hole location for the PGA Championship will soon be “taking a hard look at its digital game overall.” The PGA plans to revamp its web properties this winter.
Social media will obviously be a key part of that, and the PGA is hoping its millennial golfers will help attract fans of the same age to the game. Rory McIlroy, 25, boasts 2.17 million followers on Twitter and more than 299,000 on Instagram. Also 25, Rickie Fowler has more than 823,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 390,000 on Instagram.
Those numbers dwarf any for the PGA.
So it helps when someone like McIlroy wins a major (or two) and gets into the PGA’s event this week, the PGA Grand Slam in Bermuda, which features only the four major winners from that season. Sent out on McIlroy’s Twitter account Monday was this from Bermuda:
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) October 13, 2014
Though Fowler owned the best aggregate score from all the majors this season, he’s not eligible to compete in the Grand Slam, which runs Tuesday and Wednesday. Jim Furyk took the spot made available by McIlroy winning two majors this year; he was the highest ranked previous major winner after defending Grand Slam champ Adam Scott opted out of his invite.
The other two players in Bermuda are Masters winner Bubba Watson and U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer – two guys who also right in the demographic the PGA is hoping to appeal to. Watson may be a little old at 35, but he’s among the most popular on social media (1.27 million Twitter followers and 84,000 Instagram followers). And Kaymer is 29. He barely joined Twitter in June after winning the U.S. Open, and is already up to more than 29,700 followers.
Related Link: Nextgengolf, GolfMatch Look to Create Youth Movement
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