The National Golf Foundation says that “Avid Golfers” (those that play at least twice a month) currently number 6.2 million golfers in the U.S., down from their high of 10.2 million in 2000. It’s no secret that participation in the game of golf has been in decline, and almost everyone can agree the best way to grow the game is to ignite interest from millennials and America’s youth. Past solutions have only slowed the decline, however, and the majority of kids today would rather play Minecraft or watch Netflix instead of hitting a little white ball toward a hole in the summer heat. At least they think that’s what they’d rather do.

If you’re on GolfWRX, there’s a good chance you’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You may not use Snapchat, however; an app that has been spreading across the country. Fourty-one percent of people 18-34 in the U.S. use Snapchat, and usage continues to grow.

One of Snapchat’s main features is the use of what are called “geofilters.” You take a picture, and depending on your exact location, various geofilters will appear. These are small visual overlays that you add on top of your picture. Here’s an example of a geofilter in New Burgh, New York.

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If you take a look at any social media platforms today, the top shared content is either a picture or a video. It just so happens that golf courses can make absolutely stunning pictures and videos. Think about it; I’m sure you have that one hole at your local course that’s gorgeous at sunset.

Snapchat is all about sharing your experiences with your friends, and the new feature that lets businesses buy a custom Snapchat geofilter at an inexpensive annual rate could bring a huge return on investment for golf courses.

The current rate for a custom geofilter seems to be going for about $450 for 20,000 square feet. Of course, it would be insanely expensive to geofence the entire course, but if you stick with the balcony of the club house and maybe the gorgeous tee box on the 18th hole, then that $450 investment might pay off big. If golf courses are really trying to become more popular among the 18-34 year olds, why not meet them where they are, and where they are is Snapchat.

If only five people per day take a Snapchat, see the geofilter, and add it to their story, then that’s about 500 impressions every day. Multiply that by 365 days = 182,000 impressions. That’s $2.47 per 1,000 impressions, which isn’t that expensive. Plus, it’s not an annoying ad. It’s a friend suggesting friends that this place is cool and you guys should come here.

A Snapchat geofilter could have an exponential return as well. As more and more people come across the geofilter and share it with all of their friends, their friends are going to come play and share it with their friends. And on and on. If golf courses are really trying to gain interest in what could be the next generation of avid golfers, it’s time to talk to millennials in their preferred medium. Social media is here and it’s here to stay. Businesses that learn to shift and pivot will win and those that don’t will lose.

I got in touch with Grant Cardone, a real estate and marketing mogul, who had this to say about Snapchat.

“I’m 59 years old, I have hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate, and I use Snapchat as a tool to grow my brand and business.”

Just like Mr. Cardone has utilized Snapchat to grow his company, the golf industry needs to capitalize on this new opportunity to grow the game among the next generation of golfers.

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10 COMMENTS

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  1. The golf industry needs to focus on retaining the golfers. I left my club in disgust because the lousy way I was being treated. The club focused very hard in trying to recruit new members but stopped trying to accommodate current members. If the golf industry made sure the current golfers are happy to be golfers, that may create a more desirable effect than bending every which way in an effort to attract new golfers. Personally, I’m intrigued more by other’s passionate endeavors than by somebody trying to trick me into liking something I’ve no interest in.

  2. @Ryan I think the article is bang on in terms of appealing to the 18-34 target. Youtube requires a lot more resources (video content, filming, editing, promotion of finished content), Instagram doesn’t exactly have rave reviews when it comes to ROI for ads and the majority of that demo is one of the smallest/least engaged targets on Facebook (especially when looking at ad stats/view rates). I’d say using Snapchat to engage 18-34 year olds is a smart, cost efficient, time-saving solution for golf courses and any brick and mortar businesses as long as they promote their usage of Snapchat properly.

  3. Millennials and American youth only play golf to clown around and display their humorous incompetence. It’s not a sporting event, it’s a bash. Nobody that age takes golf seriously as a worthwhile pastime.
    If you want to grow the game in these age cohorts you gotta make it cheap, even free for an introductory period. Nobody is gonna pay hundreds of $$$ to clown around for 5 hours on a golf course.

    • While I do see your point, I will have to disagree because I and many guys I play with are not ones to “clown around incompetently”. It’s important that people learn the rules and respect the course as well as the people playing around them- absolutely. Fortunately, not all millennials and teens are immature, and many actually have a passion to improve their scores. If golf continues to not capture the interest of the next generation, it will continue to see the number of avid golfers slide to record lows.

  4. So… interesting article – I especially appreciated the CPM breakdown of just five snaps per day. Smart approach.

    However, a more thorough (and potentially richer overall) article might have detailed the advertising options available to golf courses/businesses across all of the social platforms.

    In particular, you gotta be careful with the following language: “If golf courses are really trying to become more popular among the 18-34 year olds, why not meet them where they are, and where they are is Snapchat.”

    If one was targeting Americans 18-34, it wouldn’t be difficult to argue that Facebook, Instagram or YouTube might be a wiser investment of a golf course’s marketing dollars.

    • Thanks for the comment Ryan! I definitely think golf courses should utilize other social platforms, particularly Instagram then Facebook. I have a client on doing Facebook & Instagram ads now seeing around a $11 CPM. I think Snapchat is something that local businesses should jump on because of the value it provides in relation to other advertising platforms. Of course Facebook & Instagram are much more scalable in comparison to Snapchat Geofilters, but overall, a Snapchat geofilter particularly will give you more bang for your buck. Maybe I will write a follow up piece about Facebook, Instgram, & YouTube!

    • I definitely agree with pace of play. However, this is an additional reason I think golf courses should stick with the minimum of 20,000 square feet for their geofilter. Give players the opportunity on to use the filter only on the beautiful 18th hole and watch more and more people come give golf a try.

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