Global golf development is in line with trends in other sports. However, the number of golfers has been increasing as a new – golf lounge – culture. If you follow golf news frequently, you may see a trend on the rise and dominance of Korean female golfers in international golf tournaments. Lately, Korean pro-golfer Inbee Park successfully won her Grand Slam title, and her success was sealed into the history of all golf tournaments. What kind of factors stimulated the growth in South Korea’s golfing population? It has been shown that the increasing number of golfers in virtual golf has led to a continuous growth in total golfing population.
Let’s dig deeper into the virtual golfing population in South Korea. There are 4 million golfers enjoying golf in Korea and the number of virtual golf players has reached an approximate 2.05 million people. By 2010, 42.6% of the total 430. thousand players who only played virtual golf before started to practice golf at both outdoor and indoor driving ranges. Additionally, the golfers experienced an improvement of their skills and the golf industry witnessed a rapid business expansion of golf. Golf beginners found it much easier to start with virtual golf. They enjoyed golf practice and advanced their golfing skills by using golf simulators when they practice. At the same time, the golf industry received a boost as more and more golf driving ranges were created to satisfy the needs of growing number of golfers.
About ten years ago, golf was considered one of luxurious sports that only a minority of the population could afford. However, as virtual golf was initiatively introduced to South Korea in 1990 as a new sports resort industry, golf became more accessible to the mass market because of its relatively low entry barrier for beginners. A brand new section in the golf industry – indoor golf lounges where golf simulators were installed – did not appear until 1990. Today, the number of indoor golf ranges has increased to roughly 5,000 and almost 130 thousand rounds are played every day. We observe a trend that the golfers between their twenties to forties look at virtual golf as one of the most important parts of their cultural life. Most golfers in their thirties like to join golf clubs, and friends gather to practice golf together when they are off work. Meanwhile, this new culture of indoor golf lounge became a top location where golfers in their twenties date or hang out with their friends.
GOLFZON created a new culture of virtual golf for golfers and has been trying to overcome the entry barrier to golf. GOLFZON’s golf simulators successfully entered the mass market and introduced their advanced golf simulators to golfers. GTOUR also became one of the most popular golf tournaments in Korea where the greatest golfers gather to battle for the first prize. A tournament for casual golfers – GOLFZON’s Happy Golf Day – was recently started to bring golfers together and enjoy golf more with no restriction on the time or driving ranges.