As we get used to the world post-covid and life after the MCO, the urge for Malaysians to get back on the golf course is strong. According to the “How COVID 19 is Changing Golf in Asia – Playing Habits” 2021 survey by the global research firm Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS), 63 % of Malaysian Golfers surveyed were “Going Crazy” while courses were closed waiting to open up again.
15% of those surveyed in Malaysia had started the game within the last 3 years reflecting worldwide trends of golf growth during the COVID period. Also, more than half of Malaysian golfers surveyed said they would encourage someone else they know to play golf over the next 12 months. This is most likely to be a golfer’s son, spouse/partner or daughter.
David Wong, CEO and co-founder of Deemples, said, “The demand to play golf via the Deemples platform has been increasing every year but with the flight to safety that golf provides in contrast to other sports, there has been a noticeable increase in interest in golf. Now that we have made it through the worst of things and people are starting to go out again, we’re seeing a lot of increased activity. In our first full month, we have been open, we’re actually close to our peak before the lockdowns. The results of the SMS survey are validated by what we are experiencing in the marketplace.”
September 2021 was the first full month of activity for Deemples after a 4-month lockdown, which saw them reach almost 90% GMV of their best month. This also included a 17% increase in ticket size per transaction on the Deemples app. Though a small sample size, the quick rebound highlights an active and eager market of golfers in the country.
The face of golf is changing post-pandemic
However, golf as we know it, is changing amidst the pandemic. The lockdowns and isolation have fundamentally changed our perspectives that are presenting opportunities. According to the survey, golfers are likely to play with people whom they do not know personally, with the majority of the respondents (71%) stating that they are receptive to playing with strangers if their friends are not available. This shows a stronger willingness to play golf with or without your ‘golf kakis’.
The survey also highlighted that one-third of golfers believe that they would use the clubhouse differently, and over a quarter of them think that the types of the group they play in would be different.
This is translating into more activity and engagement on the Deemples app, as golfers are now more open to looking for games and joining groups than prior to the pandemic. Using the mobile app will allow them to widen their circle of golf buddies and help them sustain their passion for golf in the long run.
Golf courses are changing with the times
Golf courses are also increasingly employing the usage of technology and golf apps. People who may have been reluctant to use digital payments or online booking solutions are now used to it as it had become part of daily life during the MCO. Working with the golf courses, Deemples has already been able to help drive revenue generation for courses through the app, making it more convenient to book rounds on courses throughout Malaysia.
“With everyone going online and businesses going digital, it just makes sense that booking your next round of golf can also be as easy as ordering a bubble tea. The golf courses we work with are confident of seeing golfers be more active than before, given how long it has been since they’ve played” shared David.
The survey results back this up as more golf members in Asia aim to golf on a golf course (67%) and driving range (53%) after the pandemic is over, presumably to make up for a lost time. This should also see a rise in revenue for courses, as over half (51%) of golfers surveyed said that they will spend more in six months to the year.
To spur this along, Deemples and the golf courses are running promotions throughout the next few months to encourage more Malaysian golfers to hit the links.
“How COVID 19 is Changing Golf in Asia – Playing Habits” 2021 survey was run in 3rd Quarter 2021 by the global research firm Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) and covered Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Singapore and The Philippines.
Eric Lynge, Special Advisor Asia to SMS, based out of Singapore shared, “With data supporting the increase in golf participation in Europe, North America and Australia, we thought it was vital to run this first of its kind research across many markets in Asia. The result mirrors global statistics showing golf participation increasing during the pandemic.”
“Of course, every market is focused on how to retain new golfers and continue the trend of new golfers and it is clear that Deemples is a prime example of how peer to peer connections can connect the member and the non-member, the high and low handicapper as well as casual and weekly golfer. I applaud David and his team for creating what is a real game-changer in Malaysia and look forward to its expansion to other markets.
Lynge also said that there is more golf research online for the future. “The specific impact of new technology in terms of the commerce of, playing off and practice in are of great interest in Asia. We will be exploring surveys in the future to gauge how it is impacting the great game of golf”
To learn more about Deemples or download the Deemples Golf App, you can go to their website. They have recently launched a refer-a-friend programme. For successful referrals, new members will receive RM 30 worth of Deemples credit and existing users will receive RM 20 worth of Deemples credit.