Golf is a multi-billion dollar industry that is experiencing some of its most tumultuous times. But a new generation of players, with diverse personalities, are congregating at the top of leaderboards and providing a potentially enticing new dynamic for fans, broadcasters and sponsors.
Golf fans are now able to watch these rivalries develop in new ways, as the major tours and broadcasters deploy new technologies and platforms to meet the demands of a social and digital age. Tournaments, sponsors and players, meanwhile, are increasingly building a social media platform as a way to engage with fans and promote themselves.
Geographically, too, changes are afoot. The traditional heartlands of golf (North America and Europe) remain at the top of the rankings in terms of viewers, interest and number of golf courses. But other markets, primarily Asia, are joining the party.
The average age of the golf fan differs significantly by market too. While the established golf markets of Canada, the UK and USA each have a fan average age of above 40, the golf fan in the emerging markets of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates is below 35. This demonstrates that in new golf markets the sport is attracting a younger audience.
Despite all these positives the underlying challenges for golf, declining play and associated consumption, remain.