Baby Boomers in the USA are the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. They are ages 49 to 67 in 2013. One in four Americans is a baby boomer; a boomer turns 60 every seven seconds. Boomers were responsible for many dramatic cultural changes that occurred after World War II, from the peace movement to the yuppie phenomenon.
About nine million Boomers are golfers and they are about to move into the higher play frequency and golf spending years. The chart below shows that average rounds increase significantly as golfers age. It also shows that the baby boomer generation is behaving remarkably like the generation before.
Although their average rounds are lower – due to increased job and family responsibilities – baby boomer participation rates are actually a bit higher than that of the previous generation. Moreover, the sheer number of baby boomer golfers on the cusp of retirement bodes well for the industry.
It is estimated that, over the next 20 years, total rounds attributable to boomers will increase by 75 million to 100 million above what they are currently playing.
But, will baby boomers continue to play golf? We can’t be sure, but we’re confident based on what they’re telling us. Ninety-seven percent of Core golfers we surveyed who are five or fewer years away from retirement report they’ll definitely or probably still be playing in five years. And, 95% of Core golfers who are 20 years from retirement (in their early 40s today) say they’ll still be playing 20 years from now.
The bottom line is that over the next 20 years there will be more golfers in the higher play frequency years than at any time in history. When will this happen? Not tomorrow – baby Boomers haven’t begun retiring in large numbers. However, our model suggests that incremental rounds from Boomers will rise gradually over the next 2 years, peak around 2015, and remain in force for another 10 years after that.