A Golfshake survey that was completed by 4,600 golfers in late 2015 has highlighted the importance of a digital presence for golf clubs. The survey focused on their golf, spending habits, interaction with golf clubs and their general use of technology during 2015.
Over 37% of the survey was completed by avid golfers (playing once a week) and 57% regular golfers (playing 12-52 times per year.) The analysis highlighted the continued technology shift for golfers.
A total of 90% of golfers now have a smartphone which is up from 82% in 2014, 96% of the 30-50 year old demographic have a smartphone with 61% using their devices for golf. Golfers use of technology is further underlined by the fact that 75% of golfers completing the survey have a tablet device which was up from 55% in 2013.
The recent increase in adoption of smartphones and tablets means that it is now key for golf clubs and golf businesses to have an online presence when looking to reach new customers. Further evidence of the importance of the need for a comprehensive digital presence is indicated by the fact that 80% of golfers stated that they read reviews online when looking where to play and 77% access golf course news and information on golf portals such as Golfshake.com.
Unsurprisingly in the digital age, 36% of those surveyed stated that they regularly accessed golf news on the large media websites (BBC etc) but TV viewing still came out on top with 49% saying that they regularly access golf news via services such as Sky Sports.
Further evidence in the consumer technology shift and importance of having an online presence was identified by research conducted on online tee time bookings. The survey found that these were up by 23% in the past 2 years with 71% of all golfers surveyed saying that they had used an online club booking system or a 3rd party tee time provider.
Golfers looking to improve are also turning to the latest technology with 76% of golfers surveyed watching tuition on YouTube or other online services and websites. A total of 17% had used golf tech hardware to aid game improvement such as SkyPro & Wearable devices.
The mass adoption of new technologies by golfers coincides with the launch of the Golfshake Score Tracker app for Android devices which hit the Play Store in June 2016 and compliments the existing iOS app which was launched in 2015. The Golfshake apps focus on the core Golfshake functionality for golf score tracking, stats tracking, golf handicaps as well as providing access to the UK golf course directory and access to over 100,000 golf course reviews.
Golfers using the free to download Golfshake apps to track their scores can use the simple scoring option to record their rounds. This provides access to the Golfshake golf handicap system as result allowing them to track and maintain their handicap.
The app also allows golfers to track the scores for their golf fourball or society and golfers wanting to improve their game can use the stat scoring mode to track fairways hit, putts, bunkers & penalties to really get inside their game. Using the app in conjunction with the Golfshake website provides a great way for golfers to analyse their strengths & weaknesses and benchmark their game on their quest to becoming better golfers.
Embracing technology, particularly online digital channels, can provide a great opportunity for golf clubs and golf businesses to reach a growing audience. In addition the rise of social media means that businesses can connect and engage directly with a highly relevant audience to drive not only awareness, but also sales.