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Could PGA NFTs Become a Reality?

Is golf ready for the “next big thing”?

I read an interesting article the other day about Bryson DeChambeau and his recent NFT experiment. While I appreciate his willingness to try something new, it definitely looked like a less than ideal introduction to golf-related NFTs.

Instead of blabbing on about what NFTs are, just go read this article by someone much smarter than me, or watch the fun video below.

By this point, you’re either starting to figure it out or you still don’t get it. That’s ok. Remember those baseball cards you collected growing up? Now pretend that they’re digital, they live on the internet, they are made in limited numbers, you can buy and sell them online, and they’re not physical items. Perfect… you’re an NFT expert now!

The NBA has jumped into the NFT game through the launch of NBA Top Shot. It allows fans to buy packs of “Moments” (they’re like cards), and then collect them, buy them, and sell them. It’s become a pretty big deal for a lot of people and money has been made. I have dabbled in the Top Shot game a bit and so far it’s been sort of fun. While I’m not looking to make millions, I really do hope at some point that my Rudy Gobert dunking on Giannis Antetokounmpo moment will help put my kids through college. It won’t…

As other sports look to make their move into the NFT space, and athletes like Tom Brady already staking his claim (he is starting his own platform called Autograph), could golf get into the game? I’m not sure.

For some more insights, let’s look at the demographics of the average NBA Top Shot user. Oh wait… you can’t. The anonymity of the whole thing makes it nearly impossible to get a read on who these people are. Even some of the prices that are being paid can’t be used as a measuring stick because the platform is so new. Ok fine… let’s compare the audiences of the NBA and the PGA. That’s tricky too because they’re just so different on so many levels.

Like other sports collectables, prices on NBA Top Shot are driven by the star power of the player, the scarcity of the item (it shows you how many of each moment are made), the serial number (lower often means higher value), and ultimately… how much someone is willing to pay. Nothing is stopping me from putting my “Rudy Gobert dunking on Giannis Antetokounmpo” moment on the Top Shot Marketplace for $100 000, but no one is going to pay that right now… or maybe ever.

On a global scale, the NBA has way more star power than the PGA. In my opinion, the NBA was the perfect testing ground for NFTs because it has a solid worldwide audience and enough household names that make collecting these virtual cards enticing. Sure the PGA has a handful of big names from various places around the world, but I’m not sure it has enough star power to pull in a wider audience. I mean, how many of us have a box full of 2001 Upper Deck PGA cards sitting in our basement. Compared to baseball cards… probably not many.

If NBA Top Shot becomes the model for sports leagues to get into the NFT game, I don’t see the PGA making a big splash. I do, however, see more golfers following what Bryson DeChambeau did. Imagine if the PGA or Tiger Woods teamed up with Tom Brady to release a limited number of this moment…

Now we’re talking. Between golf fans, Tiger fans and general collectors, I can totally see a market for something like this. Sign me up.

If we think back over the past 20 years, there have been so many amazing and career-defining moments on the PGA Tour. They definitely aren’t short on content. In my opinion, the PGA lacks an audience that both understands NFTs and cares enough to spend money on them. True collectors will always find rare items to snatch up, but if there isn’t demand to push prices higher, will they bother investing?

Do I think the PGA will jump on the NFT bandwagon? Probably. Do I think it will be as successful as NBA Top Shot? No. I see opportunities for golfers to follow the DeChambeau model by creating their own NFTs and tying personalized experiences to them. Imagine owning a limited edition Phil Mickelson moment that also provides the owner with two tickets per year to any tournament that Phil plays plus an annual meet and greet. It’s sort of like the golf version of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. Would there be 10 or 20 people out there willing to pay $100 000 for that NFT? Sure.

So many questions…

Bryson had the right idea. It just lacked delivery. If his NFT game is anything like his golf game, I’m sure he’ll be willing to give it another shot… and he’ll probably be very successful doing it.

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

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