Millennials Coming To A Golf Course Community Near You

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It seems like just yesterday that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers were complaining about millennials' social media addiction and taste in music. Eventually, though, every generation hits an age where their tastes change, which might explain why millennials are increasingly turning away from city life and moving to golf course communities all over the country.

On its face, it might seem like an unlikely migration, but the reality is most millennials are in their 40s and that's an age where previous generations began slowing down and turning to a more mundane kind of lifestyle. From that perspective, this shift makes perfect sense. There is hardly a better place to slow down and live a leisurely pace of life than a golf-course community.

A recent feature by the Wall Street Journal profiled several couples who were moving into golf course communities and they both cited the family-friendly and safe environment offered by golf course communities as a motivating factor in their moves. In years past, golf course community homes have always been among the most expensive residential real estate options and that trend continues to this day.

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However, the explosion of property values in America's major metropolitan areas has driven up the cost of town houses and lofts in the city to a point where the property prices are comparable to those of outlying golf communities. It's also worth mentioning that many millennials grew up around golf because of the game's popularity with the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who raised millennials.

As is often the case with young people, the previous generation’s leisurely pursuits seemed like the epitome of boredom, and many millennials grew up swearing they would never play a country club sport like golf. However, the National Golf Foundation reports that Americans played over 530 million rounds of golf in 2023. That's not only a record number of rounds, but it's also indicative of an entirely new group of golfers coming into the sport.

That same study shows that golf club memberships nationwide have increased by 400,000 members since 2019. Although 60% of that number is composed of people over 50, that leaves 160,000 people under 40 who joined golf clubs in the last four years. Quite a few of those new members are of course joining the golf clubs that are the centerpieces of the suburban homes they just purchased.

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Some of the trend of millennials embracing golf can be traced back to the COVID-19 pandemic. In many ways, golf was the perfect pandemic sport because it allows people to convene in wide-open spaces where there is a much lower chance that any of the participants will be infected by an asymptomatic golfer. Contrast that with a weekly poker game or indoor basketball, where the risk of contagion was comparatively higher.

It's also not a coincidence that many millennial golf converts grew up watching Tiger Woods make the sport look cool. However, anyone who has ever hit a golf ball purely will tell you it's a feeling like no other, and they spend a lifetime chasing it. For all its seemingly stuffy conventions, golf has real appeal, which is why so many people "get hooked" after playing the game just a few times.

For all these reasons, it makes a lot of sense that millennials have turned their attention to golf courses and golf course real estate. That's not to say that their presence has been universally welcomed. Older residents of many golf communities are beginning to voice concerns about the changing age demographics of their neighborhoods. 

Many millennials are still raising school-aged children and even a "toned-down" cocktail party at a millennial house is probably louder than the average retiree in a golf-course community would prefer. With that said, there is a benefit to this shift by Millennials to golf communities that their predecessors may not realize: new members and new memberships are the lifeblood of any golf club.

Without them, there would be no one to pay the dues necessary to keep the club open. So, while it may be an adjustment for baby boomers in golf communities to look around and see people their grandkids' age living across the street, Millennials moving into the community ensures that the golf course will be playable and well-maintained for years to come.

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