Golf Participation in the U.S.: Investigating the Celebrity (“Tiger Effect”) and Other Impacts

AshEse Journal of Business Management

Vol. 3(4), pp. 147-153, September, 2017                                                                                   

ISSN 2059-7835                                                                                                                      

© 2017 AshEse Visionary Limited  

CASE STUDY                                                             

Thomas Willey1* and Douglas Robideaux2

1Associate Professor of Finance, Grand Valley State University, SCB 3153, 50 Front Street, Grand Rapids, MI  49504,USA

2Associate Professor of Marketing, Grand Valley State University, USA

*Corresponding Author. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received June, 2017; Accepted September, 2017

Abstract

The golf industry faces many challenges. Decreasing golf participation and a reduction in the number of courses preceded the Great Recession of 2008-2009, but were certainly exacerbated by it. Golf course stakeholders bought into the hype of the early Tiger Woods era, and believed that the increased TV viewership and Tiger-related discussion would translate into an increase in participation and profitability. That sustained participation never materialized and the supply of golf courses easily outstripped the demand. Using data from multiple sources, the authors investigated the impact of Tiger’s off-course earnings (a form of a celebrity influence, we term as the “Tiger Effect”), on participation.   Specifically, the components of total U.S. golfers (defined as the sum of core and occasional players) were used as the dependent variables in our analysis.  Using regression, the impacts of Tiger’s off-course earnings, real U.S. household income and the return on the S&P 500 were used as explanatory variables for the three participation groups. The results indicate that on the surface, a Tiger Effect seemed to exist in the late 1990s, but in actuality, the increasing economy was a key factor in the increase in participation.

Key words: Golf participation rates, Tiger Woods effect, Celebrity endorser

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