Remember when golf was the sport for wealthy grandpas in country clubs?

No more – the $102B sport has passed the vibe check of a much younger, hipper, and more diverse crowd.

RIP Richard Gilmore, you would’ve loved this trend. Source: Women in Revolt

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There were a total of 45m golf participants in the US in 2023. Among them:

  • Nearly a quarter were people of color – a 43% jump from five years ago
  • Female players took up 26%
  • Nearly 50% of them are now Millennials, Gen Zers, or even Gen Alpha

The numbers look even better if we look at off-course only (golf that’s not played on a standard 18-hole course) – the average player age gets 11 years younger.

We see plenty of opportunities to ride this golf craze and make some cash:

Golf Fashion

For the new fan base, golf’s role has expanded from a hobby to a lifestyle.

And what’s a lifestyle without fashion?

The $3.3B+ golf apparel market is ripe for the taking. For both on-course and off-course apparel, US sales in 2023 went up ~55% compared to 2019.

Some notable moves in golf fashion this year: 

Searches for “golf outfit” shot up on Pinterest in the past year. While interest can be seasonal, we’re still seeing unprecedented growth – the peaks keep getting higher.

Screenshot 2024-05-06 at 3.10.08 PM

Source: Google Trends, six months rolling average

To play in this market, forget about white polos. Golf fashion is leaning more into streetwear, and used as a way of self expression.

Design pieces that both function well and make a statement, like these Twisted Tea cheater pants that give you an extra ball, or the 420-friendly golf swag.

To combat seasonality, you can even create a line of “grandpa-core chic” golf attire for men, suited for the colder months.

Or, zoom in the kids – the number of junior players increased by 40% from 2019 to 2023. The problem? They outgrow their clothes. You can start a secondhand marketplace for golf parents to sell used attire and shoes from their kids.

All About The Greens

Managing a full-service golf course is a multifaceted job, and it’s gotten way more specialized and tech-driven in recent years.

You can come at this opportunity in a variety of ways:

  • Drones: Rent out drones to golf course owners and help them reduce labor costs. Drones can streamline routine course inspections and improve turf health with precise mapping.
  • Consulting: Become a sustainability consultant to help make golf courses more eco-friendly, like using water conservation or native plant integration to reduce costs, and attract environmentally conscious young players.
  • Events: Find golf courses that are struggling, and help them attract new traffic through events and outreach, like corporate retreats, local tournaments, and themed parties. You’ll make valuable contacts in the industry and carve out a niche for yourself.

If you own a golf course, or are considering building one, document the work — this kind of content is popular within the community.

One guy built his first course for under $250k, and got 16k+ upvotes from fellow r/golf redditors. This video of someone weeding golf greens got 17.9m views on TikTok, and another one maintaining the greens got 2.2m views.

Off-Course Opportunities

Many new players get introduced to golf through off-course settings.

Driving ranges and family entertainment centers are worth $16.7B in the US. And eater-tainment venues – where you can play while dining – are having a moment.

Puttshack, an eater-tainment chain famous for its indoor mini golf, uses high-tech sensors to track player performance.

Source: Google Trends, six months rolling average

You can focus on optimizing these off-course experiences, such as:

  • Software to help these eater-tainment venues optimize customer experience
  • Wearable devices to help new players analyze their swing mechanics and improve their game
  • A “DIY home golf simulator” kit that includes all the components needed for someone to build their own
  • An app to help players find driving ranges (“driving ranges near me” gets 107k searches/month, per Ahrefs).

From fashion, course management to tech-powered entertainment, the golf industry tees up a wealth of business opportunities. So grab your clubs and take your swing!

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