Chicago golf courses trying new ways to attract millennials
Would you play a round of golf on a course that allowed loud music blaring from golf carts, craft beer tastings throughout the course or soccer "golf balls" being kicked around to oversized holes? If so, then some Chicago golf courses are right up your alley. According to an article in Crain's over the weekend, the National Golf Foundation (NGF) reports that nearly 6.4 million golfers between the ages of 18 to 34 played a round of golf in 2014. That's approximately 33 percent fewer golfers within that age group than what was seen 20 years ago.
In an attempt to attract more Generation Y golfers, many Chicago golf course owners are resorting to tactics that would make your grandfather have a heart attack. You know, for reasons other than red meat.
... Kemper Lakes Golf Club in northwest suburban Kildeer, provides players with speakers to pump music from their carts while they play. Anything that disruptive was taboo at most clubs for decades, but two of every five millennial golfers today play music out loud on the course, according to a recent survey of 3,000 adults by the NGF.
I'm not gonna lie; I've been known to blast some Metallica on my smartphone during a round. Installing speakers on a golf cart might not be such a crazy idea.
Footgolf is also making a big splash in the area. The soccer-style golf alternative has been installed at 30 Chicago golf courses already, many charging a mere $10 to play without a golf cart. Salt Creek Golf Club, for example, generated some $10,000 in footgolf revenue last year.
My favorite idea in effort to bring more Gen-Yer's to the game?
In an attempt to score points with 20-somethings, Northbrook-based KemperSports is testing a golf event this summer at one of the 13 courses it operates here that features beer tastings from 15 craft breweries throughout the course.
I might not be a 20-something anymore, but I'm definitely down for some craft beers on the course.
While many of these ideas are sure to drive traditionalists insane, you can't blame the courses for trying something new. Most of the efforts -- and courses -- will eventually fall by the wayside, but that has more to do with hyperactive real estate ventures from the Tiger Boom and less with the attention spans of millennial golfers.