Golf Courses are Seeing a Major Shift in Demographics – Here’s Why!

Golf equipment bag standing on a course. Summer sport and activity. Golf clubs close-up.

Mike Poe is the General Manager of Quintero for over 10 years.

Quintero Golf Club near Phoenix is a destination for any passionate golfer, whether locals or golfers visiting the Phoenix Scottsdale area from out-of-town. The course was designed by master architect Rees Jones, in the tradition of preeminent courses in the world – and goes a step beyond.

Carved out of a piece of lush Arizona desert, Quintero offers golfers the ultimate in seclusion, style, and service. Quintero has been ranked as #1 Best Public Golf Course by Golf Digest and Golf Weekly Magazine and ranked #1 in Arizona by Golf Advisor. 

How has the pandemic impacted the golf community?

Between mid-March and mid-May of 2020, we lost over half of our annual revenue, with people canceling their trips and tee times in the middle of prime golf season through the fall and winter. We adjusted our rates to serve the local clientele since no one was traveling here, but it took a while for people to notice our reduced rates and start securing tee times. We lost a lot of high-value bookings in prime season. It was tough. 

Things began to improve at the end of May. The state allowed golf courses to operate when surrounding states like California and Nevada were totally shut down. People began traveling from those nearby states and coming to Arizona, where things were more open and could golf. This created a significant surge in the Arizona golf industry, something we weren’t expecting.

What have you explicitly noticed at the Quintero Golf Club? Have you seen other changes throughout golf clubs in the country?

The pandemic increased our overall customer base, with other states migrating to Arizona. Additionally, many people took up golf that they hadn’t played before, or some people even revisited golf after not playing for a while because it was the only activity left. All of which is helping our future business. 

Over the summer, people came from other parts of the state and nearby states that had never played here. We keep Quintero in great shape even in those hot months, so we were ready to go. We’ve seen many of those same guests return already because they loved our course so much and wanted to come back. Overall, our customer service standards at Quintero are different from other courses, and that helps us retain guests.

Can you please describe this “shift in golf demographics?” How does it differ from the previous demographics of golf club members?

The past year, we’ve seen more of the business traveler and younger tech guys coming to the course during the workday. These people are conducting business on the course, doing things virtually and playing around, answering calls on the course, etc.

During the pandemic, that’s the only place they could go to do business outside of their home, and now they love it and don’t want to go back. 

What are some new methods of marketing towards these “younger” golf players? Any advice? 

We make sure they know we have strong Wi-Fi available, and they can use our restaurant and patio area to set up their computer if they need it. We also have “stay and play” options with six luxury condominiums located right on the course, perfect for business trips, families, groups of friends, or even just a couples vacation/staycation. They can book a condo, set up a shop there, and conduct business.

We can provide meals, grocery shopping, entertainment, our chef can cook in the fully equipped kitchen, whatever you want, we can make happen. 

Should clubs abandon their previous marketing techniques?

Definitely not. We successfully operated through a pandemic, and we’re slowly coming out of it, but this phase of returning to normalcy is just as challenging to predict. There are many unknowns, but we’ll keep our nose to the grindstone, keep an eye on data and pay attention to what’s going on with clients and future bookings. We’ll keep working hard and serving our customers to the best of our ability.

We know now is not the time to make decisions. 

Do you foresee an increase in these younger members? Or is this just a current fad because golf can be a “socially distant” form of outdoor recreation? 

We think we’ll continue to see younger members. They love working on the course and don’t want to go back to the old ways any time soon. We’re starting to see more female golfers than in the past, which is fantastic, as well as an influx in kids coming out with their families since it was one of the few hobbies they could do over the past year.

For more information on Quintero Golf Club, visit https://www.quinterogolf.com/.

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