June 18, 2015
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten GORA Launches RakuGolf Project for Young Adults
to Revitalize the Golf Market in Japan

- Offering plans and special benefits to allow young adults to freely enjoy golf -

Tokyo, June 18, 2015 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced the launch of RakuGolf, a project to revitalize the golf market aimed at young adults in their twenties, through Rakuten GORA, the online golf reservation site operated by the company.

RakuGolf is a project that aims to revitalize the Japanese domestic golf market by stimulating the latent demand for golf among young adults and increasing the golfing population. RakuGolf will collaborate with golf courses, practice grounds and industry organizations to create an environment where young adults can freely enjoy the sport and promote the use of golf facilities by offering young people in their twenties special short course plans (nine holes or less) aimed at beginners as well as coupons that can be used to pay for course usage fees*1, *2.

Rakuten GORA also plans to begin distributing coupons offering discounts on the use of practice grounds and free lessons to users in their twenties through the official Rakuten GORA LINE account “LINE Golf”*1, *2 on the free calling and mailing app LINE, operated by LINE Corporation. In addition, it will also offer a free golf club rental service for players in their twenties at 10 select golf courses where players can borrow a full set of clubs provided by manufacturers*4.

Through utilizing these plans and special benefits, users can reduce the costs involved in playing golf, as well as receive support aimed at beginners, making it possible for young people in their twenties to freely try out and enjoy the sport.

In recent years, the golf market in Japan has been contracting, and the challenge now posed for the industry is how to expand both the population of golfers and opportunities to play. In an opinion survey related to golf carried out by Rakuten GORA aimed at people in their 20s–70s,*5 the number of people in their 20s who answered “golf” for a sport they had played in the past year was the lowest of all the age brackets, at roughly 7%. Yet at the same time, approximately 40% of respondents in their twenties who had never played before would like to try golf, highlighting a strong interest in the sport. It went on to ask those specific respondents what factors stood in the way of them taking up golf, the answers revealed that the financial burden posed a challenge, with concerns over the costs involved in playing on courses, clubs, and the like occupying the top position. The results of this survey were one of the factors behind Rakuten GORA’s decision to implement this project.

Going forward, Rakuten GORA will continue to contribute to the revitalization of the golf market in Japan through its various measures aimed at bringing the enjoyment of golf to a wider audience.

Overview of RakuGolf

Name: RakuGolf
URL: https://gora.golf.rakuten.co.jp/doc/rakugol/
Targets: Men and women between the ages of 20 and 29 on days when they play on select golf courses or practice grounds
*Users must present some form of personal identification confirming their age at the golf course or practice grounds.

Content offered:
1. RakuGolf Plans
RakuGolf offers plans for nine holes or less at a discount or with special benefits (such as lessons before the round or the use of practice grounds) at more than 120 golf courses throughout Japan. Reservations can be made from the RakuGolf page.*6

2. RakuGolf Coupons
By entering from the RakuGolf page, users can receive a present of one coupon per person worth 3,000 yen each month.*1, *2 RakuGolf coupons can be used at some 1,400 select golf courses throughout Japan.

3. RakuGolf Practice Grounds Coupons
By registering LINE Golf, the official LINE account run by Rakuten GORA, as a friend, users can receive coupons for golf lessons and free trials at select practice grounds, as well as coupons that can be used to get discounts at practice grounds every month.*1, *3

4. RakuGolf Free Rental Golf Clubs
If users make a reservation at one of ten select golf courses from the RakuGolf page and then put in a request by phone to the course in question, they can rent a set of clubs free of charge on the day they play.*4

*1 Coupons can only be used once per month.
*2 Users must enter every month to obtain coupons.
*3 LINE Golf, operated by Rakuten GORA, is the only official LINE account dedicated to golf. It sends out golf course information and discount plans to LINE users who have registered LINE Golf as a friend.
*4 There is a limited number of rental clubs.
*5 This survey was consigned to Rakuten Research, and was carried out over the Internet aimed at men and women between the ages of 20 and 79 throughout Japan from October 8–10, 2014.
*6 The RakuGolf Plans will start being offered on approximately 100 golf courses from today, with plans to sequentially offer these on more than 20 other golf courses hereafter.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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