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.
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.