For the past five years, my neighbor and I have gone nearly every weekend to the local municipal golf course for putting contests. Just me against him on the spacious, lightning fast, two-tiered practice green. While it’s always loads of fun, we’ve noticed both of our putting games have vastly improved by practicing with a competitive gaming and a scoring system in place.
Practicing with engaging feedback and measurable performance data helps golfers improve in an advanced fashion and that’s one major reason golf entertainment and gaming systems are serving growth to traditional golf in a major way. Whether playing Pebble Beach virtually on a swing simulator, hitting geo-tracked range balls at targets on a driving range or playing technology infused putting games on a world class putting surface, traditional golf benefits when players compete within the game itself, no matter the form.
So… What are the “5 Major Reasons Golf Entertainment and Gaming Systems Serve Traditional Golf?”
- Gamification of Practice Increases Competitive Mindset
By turning deliberate practice into fun games, golf comes alive in more engaging ways and improvement becomes more effortless. Compared to endlessly practicing your swing over and over again, playing against a friend dials up the fun factor, and the competition helps prepare golfers for pressure situations on the course.
- Overcomes Intimidation Factor
The more you’ve been exposed to the basics of the game in an entertainment setting, you’ll become less intimidated walking onto a golf course. When you’re playing with buddies on an indoor simulator, there are no strangers watching, judging or impatiently waiting for you. The stakes are low. As you get more comfortable swinging a club, taking turns, and observing golf étiquette, you’re preparing to take that fun attitude to a real golf setting.
- Increases Social Engagement
A fun, physical activity with relaxed rules and objectives is a great icebreaker for hosted groups. The key is getting folks to network and connect on a social level without awkward lulls. TopGolf’s creative use of hitting bays mixed with score tracking has proven to be a big hit with groups of all sizes. NextLinks’ release of the SmartGreen, a putting green activated with spotlight driven games, has the added benefit of additional inclusiveness because “everyone loves to putt”. These emerging golf entertainment and gaming systems create a much livelier and more memorable atmosphere than just having your group meet up to watch the big game.
- Creates New Streams of Income
By providing access to realistic golf away from the course, not only does the game become more ingrained into avid golfers’ lifestyles, it opens up a clear path to the game for fresh, new customers. Golf courses and hospitality businesses can now monetize dead space by offering attractive golf amenities at night and during inclement weather. Golfers and non-golfers alike join in, regardless of weather, time constraints or time of day. The more people participating, the healthier the bottom line.
- Provides Entertainment for the Masses
Golf entertainment systems are designed to appeal beyond core golfers while servicing the entire hospitality industry as a whole. With the explosion in the gaming industry pioneered by TopGolf, there are 90 million people in the US who are willing to play golf, versus only 27 million active players. By loosening the rigid culture of traditional golf at the game’s entry point, the industry can widen its funnel to capture the next generation of core golfers.
The industry is making strides towards making the traditional golf experience less stuffy and intimidating for non-golfers. The scope of golf entertainment is far-reaching, as highlighted by full-sized lightning fast indoor putting greens that have complex terrain with exciting breaks, and are complete with projected games from overhead spotlights. The emergence of new technologies and immersive experiences will serve well as a paradigm shift for access to real golf, paving the way for the next legion of avid golfers.