Nextgengolf works to get 18- to 34-year-olds to play golf through college club teams, membership subsidies and alternative tournaments. More young adults have flocked to college club golf in particular, as Nextgengolf says more than 13,000 college students now play through the organization.
Hart "doesn't believe traditional golf is dead." But he thinks quicker, more affordable alternatives can help bridge the gap. "Half the battle is getting someone to hold a club," he said.
May noted that the social aspect of Topgolf brings customers who may not have golfed in the first place.
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"Fifty percent of customers are categorized as nongolfers," May said.
Alternative forms of golf may "make it easier for beginners," Stine said. He cited a version of golf that uses a bigger hole, making it easier for players to putt.
But some of those games may "confuse the issue." He added that fundamentally, younger adults might just not have the resources to be a driving demographic in "traditional" golf.
—By Jacob Pramuk, special to CNBC.com