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Golf, Content, and Community

From a surge in golf's popularity to the influence of content and community, explore how these factors shaped the sport in the 2020s.

Any golfers out there?

No doubt about it, golf has gained popularity over the last couple years.

The NGF count showed 24.8 million golfers in the U.S. in 2020, an increase of 500,000 and 2 percent over 2019. It is the largest net increase in 17 years. New players (both beginners playing their first round and lapsed golfers coming back to the game for the first time in years) numbered 6.2 million, the highest that number has ever been. Last year also saw the largest percentage increase in beginning golfers and the biggest gain in youth golfers coming to the game since Tiger’s 1997 Masters win.

Source: SOURCE: Golf Digest

The demo is younger and more diverse. The game is getting more casual. There’s an even a Web3 community build around the game.

In 2022, dare I say golf is kinda cool?

I’ve been playing this game (poorly) for the last 20 years and in looking at its recent rise, I can’t help but think of the role that content and community play. Yes, the pandemic provided tailwinds for the sport, but the real story here is content and community.

With content, you have all types of genres depending on what you’re looking for. For those looking to improve their skills, there’s no shortage of YouTube swing coaches like Rick Shiels (pro tip: watch this stuff to help you understand the swing and the rest of the game, but it doesn’t replace getting real lessons). For those who just like a little bit of fun and who are willing to not take the game so seriously you’ve got creators like Paige Spiranac (who can tastefully troll ‘traditionalists’ better than anyone on the Internet). And if you’re looking for a deeper, zen-like look at the game from an amateur’s perspective, check out Random Golf Club (especially love the “Breaking 90” series).

As with any type of interest or passion, golf is also ripe for play communities. The best modern example of this is LinksDAO, which has taken the idea of a golf online community to another level. Then you have the Web2 communities like Golf WRX (forums) and Skratch where people go to ask advice about their swings, the best places to do a bachelor party, and talk about the pro tour.

You don’t get the rising popularity of golf over the last few years without content and community.

Imagine how big golf might have gotten if the modern internet existed when Tiger Woods was dominating in the early 2000’s? Similar questions have been asked of the Michael Jordan era.

As the game gets more popular, I’m excited about how content and community in golf will continue to open the game up.

Can you share any examples of sports, activities, or general trends that really caught fire because of content and community? That maybe might NOT have caught fire if we didn’t have the current infrastructure for content and community that we have today? 

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