Growing Golf

CLIENT: American Golf

OVERVIEW

Golf has a problem, and it is one that American Golf, Europe’s No 1 golf retailer, is acutely aware of. And that is lack of new player participation. Golf’s player base is shrinking and getting older (the average age of a UK golf club member is 64!). One of the main perceptions is that golf is expensive and elitist, another is that it is time consuming. Whilst these may not actually be true the reputation has stuck, which is why American Golf, with a seriously vested interest, invited us to help them do something about it.

THE FREE GOLF CAMPAIGN

The major purpose of our FREE GOLF initiative created for American Golf was to comprehensively disprove the negative myths about golf and illustrate first hand what a fantastic family game it is. One that every age and ability can play together, is reasonably accessible and which provides major health and fitness benefits. We designed it to provide the UK’s most comprehensive and wide ranging, ever nationwide opportunity for the general public to try out golf, in its many guises, for free.

Our FREE GOLF initiative provided anyone of any age with the opportunity, to have a free golf lesson either on one of hundreds of UK golf courses or in-store at American Golf within its club testing areas. The Free Golf scheme ran with the backing of both Golf England (the governing body of amateur golf in England) and the Parliamentary Golf Committee (that comprises over 60 cross party MPs dedicated to supporting the game of golf), plus several of the leading golf brands and major media partners including Sky and The Sun. Through it, several thousand men, women and children got to have a first taste of the game of golf, all for free.

What’s more, through our campaign we encouraged all forms and formats of the sport including those traditionally frowned upon, such as mini-golf and adventure golf – the rationale being that by just picking up a club and swinging it you could get to feel the potential joy and satisfaction of the sport. We also showcased new golf formats including speed golf where players run between shots.

A CAMPAIGN THAT BUILDS

Not content with gaining huge national awareness and participation in FREE GOLF (which was supported by a special booking and listings portal designed by Brandnation and situated on the American Golf website), we also undertook several other campaign initiatives designed to drive people to think again about golf. These included celebrity Pressure Putt, where celebrities from sport and entertainment participated (including Ben Stokes, Mike Tindall and Niall Horan) and were invited to undertake a timed Pressure Putt challenge with scores published on a leader board, and all in aid of charity.

Activities culminated in a series of FREE GOLF shows hosted around the country encouraging participation and inclusivity, with each event covered extensively by local media and broadcasters. Tens of thousands of consumers attended the shows. Celebrity golf fan Denise Van Outen opened the London event and even hosted a teach in with local school kids.

Karl McCartney MP, Co-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Golf Group and Member of Parliament for Lincoln, comments, “The new initiative will play its part in changing national perceptions of the sport by opening its doors to the masses so men, women and children can see first-hand the variation and excitement of golf.”

At Brandnation we love a challenge

Over the course of our multi-tiered campaign, American Golf provided over one million UK men, women and children of all ages with the opportunity to enjoy swinging a golf club and sampling a taste of the sport for FREE. What’s more, retail and online sales increased significantly YOY.

If you have a brand brief that includes driving consumer participation and encourages diversity we’d love to hear from you. Brandnation’s sports team has experience of working with some of the world’s biggest sports brands and on major national and international events and launches. Check out some of our other sports case studies here or get in touch direct discuss a brief mary.k@brandnation.co.uk