From the sport’s early days, technology has been a key issue for golfers—and a complicated one. Transitions from the feathery ball to gutta-percha or from persimmon woods to metal woods or the relatively recent emergence of mobile devices have inspired passionate debate and considerable deliberation. Golfers and governing bodies alike have sought to strike a balance between game-enhancement on the one hand and respecting the sport’s challenges, history and traditions on the other. In terms of playing the sport, golfers, taken collectively, are as conflicted about the proper role for technology as they are engaged with the subject.
Equipment may be the most obvious intersection of golfers and technology—but course operators, management companies, brand marketers, media companies and retailers would argue that business applications are equally or perhaps more relevant. Core golfers’ connection to technology and digital media is becoming an increasingly central topic to those who sell tee-times, golf shirts and yes, even drivers.
Perhaps the most critical business use of technology is developing and maintaining customer relationships. Long-term relationships with current and potential customers must be built based on understanding needs and exceeding expectations. Our nationwide survey of 650+ Core golfers was designed to enlighten decision-makers by growing our understanding of those factors most influential to Core golfers’ engagement with technology and digital media, and how that engagement plays out.
- How Golfers Communicate – Telephone accounts for only 21%!
- Social Media Usage – 71% of Core golfers use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter
- Golf-related Digital Activity – Survey respondents reported that 30% of their total golf equipment & apparel spending is done online
- Mobile Device Usage – Nine million Core golfers have smart phones
- Engagement with Web 2.0 User-Generated Content – 31% regularly read user-generated comments
- Implications for Marketers – Golfers prefer (overwhelmingly so) that their favorite businesses communicate with them through email, not social media
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