Millennials – it’s the word that makes most golf club committees break out into a cold sweat.

Either through fear of them taking over their beloved clubhouse, or simply at the thought of the seemingly  impossible task of trying to recruit them.

The millennial is the the ultra-cool, 20/30 something, jegging wearing, hipster (or so we’re lead to believe).

A baffling generation to the majority of golf clubs, they are actually the very people that clubs need to engage with if they want to give golf the participation boost that it so desperately needs.

As social media is central to the millennial’s existence, it’s not surprising that this is the first place they turn to for guidance in most aspects of their lives.

With the rise of social media over the last 10 years, a new breed of public figure has emerged in the form of the influencer.

These are not famous figures like pop stars or Hollywood actors, but savvy social media users who have established credibility within a specific industry. They have a large following and the ability to persuade others due to their authority and potential reach.

These are modern-day role models who in some cases replace the traditional sport stars and celebrities that used to inspire us. These are people who are extremely important to millennials and future generations.

Social media influencers are a key part of the new Get Into Golf Campaign, launched today.

This campaign is like marmite – you’re either going to love it or hate it and I’m not sure that there’s any middle ground.

I got an early preview of the campaign at an England Golf Women & Girls Advisory Group Meeting in February and quite frankly, it left the room speechless.

But it was speechless in a good way; it made such an impact that we weren’t really sure what to say about it.

It was like the launch of the This Girl Golfs campaign back in 2015. It was no holds barred, daring to be different, challenging the traditional golf stereotypes and dare I say it, actually making golf look fun.

What first strikes you is the colours. The campaign homepage is certainly bright and bold.

It’s attention grabbing, simple and fresh. All things that aren’t normally associated with golf.

Then you see the participants, all dressed in leggings, trainers, ripped jeans, leather jackets – I think one of the older club members fainted at the sight!

It’s definitely modern, maybe too modern for some?

Now comes the truly revolutionary part of this golf campaign – these participants aren’t just from an agency, they are social media influencers.

That’s right, a golf organisation is using social media as its core method of getting people playing golf.

These influencers have reasonable social media followings in their own rights, but not in the world of golf.

They are going to document their journey into golf and give their followers a true insight into what it is like to play this wonderful game.

Their influence and experience will hopefully be the catalyst to get more millennials playing golf.

However, while all this seems great, I can’t forget that speechless moment when we first glimpsed the campaign.

Although we would love to think that golf is ready for this, a lot of clubs won’t be able to teach people dressed in ripped jeans or jeggings.

There was an inner turmoil amongst the group who really wanted to love the campaign. We had to ask if it was trying to sell an ideal that isn’t really there?

Some will say that England Golf have taken this a step or two too far. But I think it’s about time that the industry has a bit of a shake up and at the very least tries a modern approach to recruiting millennials into golf.

Time will tell how successful it is and we’ll be able to see how many people come into the game through the Get Into Golf website.

Also, with this being such a social media based campaign, we’ll be able to see what this generation and potential saviours of golf think to their local golf facilities.

If they like it, they’ll post about it on Twitter, Snapchat and other social media platforms, creating an enormous buzz.  The potential knock-on effect, if managed properly by the participating golf club, could be huge.

Whether you love or hate the campaign, it’s what golf has needed for a long time.

We are finally reaching the heart of the millennial generation and using the power of social media to get more people into golf.

About the author

Since graduating from university, Emma Ballard has spent the last 11 years working within the golf industry. She is currently the marketing manager at Medi8 Limited.

On a day-to-day basis Emma works with golf brands, companies, and clubs to grow their presence and increase their exposure through online marketing and social media.

She is also part of the England Golf’s Women & Girls Advisory Group and she volunteered as an Ambassador for Women’s Golf Day. She is very passionate about getting more women in golf. Follow Emma on Twitter at @Medi8Emma


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