Syngenta Pinpoints ‘Seismic Shifts’ in Golf

London, England: Golf clubs and courses can drive new business by learning from the ‘seismic shift’ and growth in the golf entertainment sector, new research from Syngenta and Ipsos has found.

Golf & Social Media: Golf Entertainment, published this week, reveals customers new to golf perceive golf entertainment venues to offer ‘more engaging’ and ‘more welcoming’ experiences.

Launching the report, which analysed 16.1 million social media posts, shares and comments in the United States and United Kingdom made between 2019 and 2022, Syngenta Global Head of Marketing Mark Birchmore said: “The emergence of golf entertainment has been one of the most seismic shifts we’ve witnessed in the industry in recent years. 

“According to the National Golf Foundation, off-course play has sky-rocketed by 55% since 2017, now totalling 32.9 million participants, compared with a more modest 8% growth in green grass players. 

“It begs the question, have green grass clubs and facilities missed out on new customers by not creating the right offer?

“Nearly a decade ago we carried out market research to look at youth participation and asked: ‘What would encourage young people to start golf?’ This revealed a number of pull factors, including the desire for casual dress, an enjoyable, fun, social environment and golf games and new formats: all areas golf entertainment venues excel at.” 

The research found that ranges and putting venues are seen to be more engaging and have a better image and reputation among customers than traditional green grass golf courses. Golf entertainment venues are perceived as open to all, offering informal, inclusive experiences for groups of friends with food and drink on tap. 

Social media posts also revealed customers thought golf entertainment venues were more welcoming and less intimidating than green grass clubs and courses, with a relaxed atmosphere and no dress code making it the ideal place to sample golf.

The new report is part of a wider study, Golf & Social Media: The Great Divide, which found that there is a clear division between customers who perceive they are a golfer (Insiders) and those who do not (Outsiders). Many visitors to entertainment outlets such as Topgolf, where technology, gaming and hospitality combine, fall into the Outsiders camp.

Birchmore said: “Golf entertainment venues and their success at attracting a huge, new diverse audience presents a massive opportunity for golf course businesses.

“Creating inclusive, welcoming experiences characterised by fun and informality, promoted online with viral content, is something green grass golf venues can take and adapt. In this way, golf’s image and reputation can also be improved, helping attract and engage new waves of customers.”

The report also shines a light on the people around the world shaping golf entertainment’s growth, such as 3s, the 12-hole floodlit concept backed by Justin Timberlake, and a college student posting viral mini-golf videos on TikTok.

To download this report and previous Syngenta market studies, visit

*Syngenta is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation

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