Golf’s “health” has been a regular topic of conversation in the past few decades. However, the advent of golf entertainment alternatives such as Topgolf, not to mention the rise of younger stars on the global Tours in the post-Tiger Woods era (which now again includes Tiger Woods), has some industry experts projecting positively in the coming months and years.
Speaking with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money,” Topgolf CEO Erik Anderson said that he’s seeing “real growth” in an industry that has stabilized in recent years, especially among the coveted millennial demographic.
For those looking to invest in experience and lifestyle, golf might be their next ace in the hole.
At least that’s what Erik Anderson, the co-chairman and CEO of privately-held entertainment company Topgolf, told CNBC on Monday.
Topgolf, a budding chain of sports-bar-meets-driving-range entertainment centers, has been growing in popularity among non-golfers. (Golf equipment maker Callaway Golf has a 15 percent stake in Topgolf.)
Anderson told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer that Topgolf’s customer breakdown is 40 percent golfers and 60 percent non-golfers (or people who play fewer than eight rounds of golf per year).
“It appeals to everybody,” the CEO said, adding that the demographic breakdown is roughly 35 percent women.
Topgolf’s centers feature interactive driving ranges that use tracking chips to show how far and where each golf ball went. The facilities also have food and drink options, event spaces and training classes for budding golfers.
“Golf certainly hit a peak at one point in the U.S. … but I think it’s stabilizing,” Anderson told Cramer. “We’re seeing real growth again. And I think golf starts to get growing in a couple of ways. If you count our activity, golf actually has grown. So I think it’s just expanding the audience and how people get to it.”
Topgolf has mainly been expanding its audience by opening new locations — the company will open its 38th facility on Friday — and by partnering with related organizations like Formula One.
Anderson said that Topgolf’s interactive system can be set up anywhere, so his company has been introducing the game outside its “regular venue” to gain traction.
And according to the company’s breakdown, which shows that 53 percent of its customers are between the ages of 18 and 34, it’s gaining traction among a key segment of the population: millennials.
Anderson said that he’s trying to provide a “dense parallel experience” for younger customers that speaks to their love of multitasking. At a Topgolf, millennials can play golf, meet with friends or colleagues, eat food, have a drink, watch TV and, best of all, document the experience.
The CEO said one of his biggest wins as a company leader came when NFL quarterback Drew Brees took a photo of his Topgolf score and posted it on Snapchat.
“I knew we were really onto something when … he took a Snapchat, a little picture of the screen that said, ‘This was my score.’ And I said, ‘I’m winning,'” Anderson said. “I’m winning as an owner, as a CEO when people are taking a picture of the screen and telling me, ‘Hey, can you beat my score?'”
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