More Americans are playing golf than ever before. An estimated 1 in 7 Americans played golf in 2022, according to a new report released by the American Golf Industry Coalition.
With golf’s overall participation base in the U.S. up to 41.1 million—an increase from 32 million in 2016—having the proper equipment can go a long way not only to boost one’s confidence, especially for novices, but to put players in the best position to potentially go low on the course.
“People fall into the trap where even if they’re a single-digit player or mid-handicap player they don’t feel like they’re worthy of a club fitting or fitting experience so they end up buying a stock set of clubs off the shelf,” said Perry Dickey, a fitter at TaylorMade’s The Kingdom. “One of the things that’s overlooked the most is set makeup and having all of your clubs serve a good purpose in your bag. I see people with this massive black hole in the mid-to-long side of their bag because they just bought a 4-PW or 3-PW and they have these long irons they can’t get into the air.
“When you’re able to give them clubs that are functional and serve a good purpose with functional distances and trajectories throughout their bag, it really makes the game more enjoyable and a lot easier for them to play better.”
Because golf club fittings can be intimidating to some and too costly for others, brands like Marriott are teeing up opportunities for golfers to experience a fitting at The Kingdom AKA “golf’s premier fitting destination.”
Available through Marriott Bonvoy Moments, members can bid on the opportunity for a custom, high-tech club fitting at TaylorMade’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California, that not only includes a 2.5-hour fitting analysis, but also a new set of clubs from driver to putter.
“Our members love golf and continually ask for golf-related experiences,” said Jackie McAllister, Marriott Bonvoy Brand & Moments marketing vice-president. “Because Marriott Bonvoy Moments offers truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences, we know the opportunity to go to TaylorMade’s The Kingdom is the ultimate experience for a golf fanatic.”
This experience is hardly Marriott’s first foray into sports via its loyalty rewards program. The hotel and resorts giant, which became the first-ever official hotel partner of Manchester United in 2019, offers experiences with the English soccer giants currently No. 2 on Forbes’ Most Valuable Soccer Teams at $6 billion, ranging from hospitality packages via the Seat of Dreams to a chance to become an announcer for the day.
Suites and VIP experiences for the Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), Chicago Cubs (MLB) and Orlando City SC (MLS) are also available as well as a number of F1-related experiences with Mercedes-AMG Petronas. NFL fans also have a chance to bid on the opportunity to attend every regular-season away game of their favorite team during the 2023 season.
Launched in 2018, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, which also recently introduced One Point Moment Drops, has offered more than 20,000 experiences across culinary, arts and lifestyle, sports and entertainment for its Bonvoy members.
The Kingdom customization experience is a holy grail-like moment for many golfers.
Starting out as TaylorMade’s research and development facility in 1999, The Kingdom has evolved into a fitting showpiece for the company, which boasts Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson as Team TaylorMade.
Allotting 2-3 hours per fitting, The Kingdom welcomes less than 10 people per day with a morning session and an afternoon session in what is truly an exclusive experience for novices and scratch golfers alike.
“I’ve been here since 2003, so it’s a place that’s near and dear to my heart,” Dickey said. “It’s a place I really feel is the showpiece of TaylorMade as much as our products, our culture, our people, our technologies and everything. I think people come here as much to experience our brand as they do to get fit. From that perspective, I think it’s a very unique place.”