The growth of nontraditional golf venues continues to accelerate at a rapid pace — so much so that one major company projects it will soon welcome more golfers than standard courses.
In 2022, the National Golf Foundation said 41.1 million Americans aged 6 and up played golf, including 15.5 million who participated exclusively in off-course golf activities.
Topgolf is on track to open 11 new venues by the end of 2023, expected to attract between 3 million and 4 million new visitors.
“With this growth, Topgolf will soon have more consumers visiting it than exist in all of U.S. on-course golf,” Topgolf Callaway president and CEO Chip Brewer proclaimed on an earnings call this week, “including one-half of the total on-course golf population, as many now participate in both on- and off-course golf.”
Topgolf leads the way in an ever-expanding off-course business that includes other alternative driving-range-style options like Drive Shack and adult-friendly mini-golf venues like the Rory McIlroy-backed Puttery and London-based Swingers, which has expanded to the U.S.
Additionally, Toptracer Ranges — a product of Topgolf — are helping public golf courses attract new players with a tech-forward buildout that allows casual golfers to play games and virtual courses, while also giving more experienced players a peek inside key data like swing speed and ball trajectories.
In a larger sense, creative approaches are helping the golf industry keep up its initial pandemic momentum — a task with which so many sectors in the leisure and fitness space have struggled.