How Do Golfers Choose a Course? A Conjoint Analysis of Influencing Factors.


  • Doyeon Won
  • Sunhwan Hwang
  • Douglas Kleiber


Leisure marketing, Golf, Conjoint analysis


As the number of golf courses has increased gradually over the past decade, golf course managers have become increasingly concerned with maintaining and increasing their consumer bases. In this regard, understanding golfers in their respective markets is critical to the effective formulation of marketing strategies and tactics. From a macroperspective, understanding factors influencing a golfer’s choice of a golf course can help the golf industry to attract more golfers by accommodating golfers’ needs and wants. Unfortunately, this area of research is extremely lacking, as only a few empirical studies are available. Golfers make tradeoffs between choice factors in choosing a golf course; it is a multiattribute decision where green fees, travel distance, and course design are among several factors considered simultaneously. Accordingly, a conjoint analysis was employed in the present study to investigate the relative importance of key factors/attributes involved in choosing a golf course. The current study also explored the influence of golfers’ gender, income level, and recreation specialization in golfing activities on the relative importance of these golf choice factors. Data were collected from 155 golfers at three different public golf courses in a Southeastern state. Participants were asked to evaluate 10 hypothetical golf courses and rate their specialization level in golfing activities. Consistent with prior recreation specialization research, the study examined behavioral, cognitive, and affective dimensions of golf specialization. The results indicated that “course condition” was the most important influencing factor in choosing a golf course, followed by “green and cart fees,” “course design and layouts,” “availability of a tee-off time,” and “travel distance.” Golfers’ gender, income level, and level of golf specialization were found to be useful market segmentation variables. These findings also confirmed that golfers can be classified using a multidimensional approach of recreation specialization and suggest that golfers’ specialization levels are related to different prioritized choice factors. Golf course managers need to identify golfers’ prioritized choice factors in order to communicate better with their current and potential consumers. To do so, it is recommended that leisure marketers consider using post hoc segmentation variables, such as recreation specialization as well as a conjoint approach to better understand their consumers. From this perspective, the authors believe that this study provides leisure sport managers with useful guidelines to profile consumers and make informed managerial and marketing decisions.?





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