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What Will It Take for Millennials to Join Country Clubs?

If millennials are actually striking down entire industries, then it seems like country clubs have just eked their way out of the chopping block. Waitlists have grown by 24% since 2019, indicating a resurgence after over a decade of decline. Golf is suddenly cool again—but can this uptick in interest be sustained?

Millennials are reaching the prime age for membership, and yet the number of country clubs in the U.S. is expected to fall below 10,000 this year. Plus, profitability is stagnating, leaving little room for error as facility managers renovate and restructure with incoming generations in mind.

If you want to attract and win loyal millennial members, consider weaving these high-impact country club trends into your long-term business strategy.

Shaking up the Old Fashioned

Traditional country clubs have a reputation for being stuffy, exclusive, and expensive—and that explains why millennials are hesitant to join. Younger generations pioneered casual dress codes, and they deeply value diversity, equity, and inclusion. Plus, 73% of Americans are struggling to save due to inflation. Without swift changes, old-school facilities risk being out of reach and out of touch with millennial needs.

Attracting a new generation of members means going against the industry’s grain. As millennials flock to newer, hipper social clubs and off-course golfing facilities, industry leaders must rethink the formalities and sports-centric culture that once defined country club life.

4 Ways to Reinvent Country Clubs for Millennials

The country club industry is still rife with opportunity. Dues have skyrocketed, and median initiation fees for clubs with golf courses have risen by $21k since 2019. Millennials are showing signs of interest—and memberships can become a spending priority for incoming generations when leaders leverage these country club trends.

1. Balancing Leisure and Responsibility

Millennials are strapped for time. As dual-income families become the norm and childcare costs grow, they are dedicating fewer hours to leisure and sports than any generation.

Crafting a country club experience around the millennial lifestyle, rather than aiming to change it, is key to success. Amenities like full-sized gyms, spas, and coworking spaces are coming into style. Family-centric activities and affordable kid’s clubs further include and attract millennial parents. In fact, Invited, a national country club operator, sees 7% lower attrition among members with children enrolled in junior programs.

Your club can stand out by offering convenience and consolidating staple expenses into one high-value membership.

2. Prioritizing Social Events

Millennials crave social interactions. Country clubs can spark connections—but rigid etiquette is out and party atmospheres are in. Casual get-togethers excite millennials. Think crafty paint-and-sip wine nights, poolside bashes, and movie nights. Niche events that cater to diverse audiences can also attract new demographics to the country club world.

Country club leaders can even facilitate virtual connections with Discord servers and Facebook groups to further integrate with millennial lifestyles. Appoint community managers to update and engage with members through these digital platforms.

3. Crafting Unique Dining Experiences

High-end country club experiences do not have to go away. While social formalities are out, two-thirds of millennials and Gen Z adults enjoy unique ways to dine, prioritizing the experiential luxury of tasting menus and chef’s tables.

Country clubs must get creative. Call upon your culinary leaders to craft themed menu concepts, innovative cocktails, and food-centric events that blow traditional brunches out of the park.

4. Updating Pricing Strategies

Millennials are struggling to afford down payments, and the average age of first-time homebuyers has shot up to 36. So, how can millennials justify thousands in initiation fees? Savvy country club leaders have found alternative pricing strategies to attract millennials who can’t afford upfront costs.

Clubs are experimenting with financing discounts for young members, and even à-la-carte options to give millennials a taste of what they have to offer. Eliminating initial cost barriers can get diverse millennials invested for life.

Enabling Innovation Through Leadership

Transforming country clubs for incoming millennial members starts with a high-performing leadership team. At Gecko Hospitality, our experienced recruiters can connect you to private club managers who can bring your vision to life—and offer innovative ideas to spark engagement from young adults. Leverage our national network to optimize your operations for the incoming generation of country club members.

Hire hospitality managers at the leading edge of country club trends. Reach out to your local recruiter today.


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