One of the many golf-related ventures overseen by NBC Sports, GolfPass is an occasionally unwieldy offering combining a digital content library with experiential discounts and offerings.

It’s a product developed in partnership with freshly-crowned FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy, whose importance to the PGA Tour and the world of golf in general has been immense over the past year or more. No wonder products like this have surfaced.

(The less said about Rory’s initial GolfPass podcast with Carson Daly, the better. Unless you’re mocking it, in which case please say more!)

GolfPass remains a thing, even as NBC’s overall golf strategy feels a bit varied, with men’s major championship coverage spreading around USA and Peacock as opposed to their own Golf Channel.

It’s hard to say exactly where something like GolfPass fits into the wider picture at NBCUniversal, but it’s certainly here to stay for at least a while. The service typically costs $99 per year, and includes the benefits of GolfPass as discussed above plus a subscription to Peacock Premium.

Despite that apparent value (and according to the press materials, NBC would have you believe it’s impossibly irresponsible to not sign up), a press release Tuesday revealed a promotion that will see the first 1,000 students to sign up (college and high school) given free subscriptions.

From the NBC release:

As young people take up golf in record numbers, NBC Sports Next’s GolfPass is ringing in the new school year by offering active students complimentary access to its entire vault of membership benefits for a limited time – from on-demand video instruction and entertainment to tee-time benefits and news covering the entire industry – to help golfers of all skills levels to play more and better golf.

Students currently enrolled in thousands of colleges and universities across North America, as well as college-bound high school students over the age of 16 are eligible for the offer and the ever-growing benefits that come with a GolfPass+ membership, including tee-time credits and access to thousands of hours of exclusive instructional and entertainment programming, which can be streamed on demand 24/7.

The offer for free membership might be restricted to the first thousand signups, but if you’re an eligible student (or if you know one who would actually take advantage here) who misses out, you’re still going to be in line for a discount:

The free offer is being extended to the first 1,000 students who apply. Memberships for eligible students beyond the 1,000 free limit are offered at a 40 percent discount, which prices an annual GolfPass+ student membership at $59, and a GolfPass video-only membership at $29.

So, what’s the strategy here?

It’s not really hard: getting younger. Finding ways to get younger people playing the game (and therefore continuing to play throughout life) has been an issue for the entire golf industry for decades. Most courses offer age-dependent membership rates, including student discounts.

Considering the value of a younger audience to media companies and networks like NBC, the appeal of drawing in younger members is obvious. Giving away memberships and offering, essentially, a student discount price for the remainder of the new crowd signing up, feels like a solid way to jolt membership and target a younger crowd for a product that should be more appealing to said crowd.

As to whether GolfPass offers enough value to these students to get them locked in long-term for paid subscriptions, well, that’s a harder sell. Maybe if that Carson Daly podcast came back.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.