Why Lexus Wants to Use the U.S. Open and Golf to Snare Younger Buyers


For one weekend this year, Pinehurst, North Carolina, might be able to lay claim to the highest concentration of Lexus vehicles per capita. The luxury automaker is the official vehicle partner of the United States Golf Association, (USGA), a title it has proudly held for 18 years.

As a part of that agreement with the governing body of public golf in the United States, and the sanctioning organization behind the second men’s major tournament of the golf schedule, Lexus outfits the players and other prominent personnel that participate in “the toughest test in golf.”

But we’re not talking about a few VIP players getting some free wheels for the week; each of the 156 players receives a courtesy vehicle for transportation to and from the golf course, as do many caddies, family members of players, and certain staff of the USGA.

If you’ve ever seen the behind-the-scenes parts of a massive gathering like Monterey Car Week or any significant sporting event, you know that vehicle logistics are a universal pain in the behind. The same complicated, onerous, and often expensive dance of shuttling dozens, sometimes hundreds of cars in and out of confined, heavily trafficked, and highly controlled spaces goes on each year at both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open.

2024 Lexus LC 500h Convertible at U.S. Open golf exterior front three quarter

Despite the inevitable headache and complexity, the opportunity to woo folks attending the tournament and watching on TV is just too good to pass up. To find out exactly what made partnering with the USGA and being involved in golf so appealing, I sat down with Nicole Peterson, experiential marketing and national partnerships manager for Lexus, at Pinehurst this week.

“Strategically speaking, golf is trending younger, and in general, golf is becoming more cool,” Peterson explained. “Golf is one of the only sports you can play whether you’re eight or 80. It’s one of those sports that engages everybody.”

And sure, the average age of U.S. golfers still lingers around the mid-fifties, but so does that of the average Lexus buyer. That those buyers tend to have a bit more expendable income to spend on luxury goods never hurts, either. “We’re not alienating our existing customer, which is a little bit older of a fanbase,” Peterson notes.

To get that new customer, Lexus partnered with Malbon Golf, one of the game’s most fashion-forward apparel companies. It also sponsors a few players on tour, including star-in-waiting Will Zalatoris, last year’s U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark, and more.

Wyndham Clark, winner of the 2023 U.S. Open, is the Lexus’ newest signee. The player sponsorships and tournament partnerships are part of a larger effort to reach a younger audience, which the company feels it can do through golf.Jeff Haynes/USGA

Younger buyers want tech-forward cars, and it’s not too much of a stretch to say that prior to 2022, Lexus was a bit behind the ball there; interfaces felt clunky, interior layouts were a bit hectic, and while everything “worked,” it was rarely a seamless experience.

The newer models change that trend, however; quite a few of the offerings in Lexus’ model line are all-new or significantly updated within the past three years. Hallmark nameplates such as the RX, the GX, and the LX are fresh, each of them finally boasting interiors full of additive—not merely tolerable—tech.

With updated offerings in hand, Lexus wants golf—everything from the sport’s toughest test to one of the game’s most progressive apparel brands—to help it spread the good news.


Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: At RWM & Co., Mechanical Sympathy Comes with the Job
Your daily pit stop for automotive news.

Sign up to receive our Daily Driver newsletter

Subject to Hagerty's Privacy Policy and Terms of Conditions

Thanks for signing up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *