With the decline in private club membership throughout New England, public access golf courses have seen a more stable business model with more available golfers in the last few years. Having said this there are still issues that are hurting both semi-private and public facilities and most of them are synonymous with discounting.
The math is plain and simple, more discounted rounds through 3rd part sellers are not equating to profit for anyone.
If a public access course does 30,000 undiscounted rounds at an average rate of $50.00 their income is 1.5 million dollars. A course doing 50,000 rounds using Golf Now, player’s cards, free golf promotion and advertising and promotion trades may look much busier but in their retrospect profit may be substantially less. In addition discount golfers hold no loyalty and rarely create any measurable sustainability for repeat business. What makes a successful public access golf facility is really all about the experience and that will never change.
Understanding that golf is a hospitality industry is key to success at every course today. Great course conditions, friendly welcoming staff and great 19th holes are key to capturing a customer for 5 hours of their precious time. Having a bad day on the links for any golfer is difficult but compounding it with unfriendly staff, a bad meal and slow play is a recipe for disaster when it comes to repeat business. We want the game to be a lifetime of learning and enjoyment for everyone who plays the game and always do everything possible to keep them coming back for more.
Creating new innovating programs to grow the game is critical at public facilities. Family, junior and women’s clinics bring new players into the game and open courses to a broader customer base. Kids leagues in mid-afternoons are catching on across the country with 3,6 and 9 hole formats. Couples golf and family golf are becoming increasingly popular as well. Golf is a great game to share with family but few courses today create opportunities where new players can learn the game and are not pressured and intimidated on the course by more experienced players.
Last but not least there are a lot of courses out their vying for the same golf dollar. Every course is different and unique, getting the word out is always a challenge. Seek professional and experienced golf marketing firms to create a vision for your facility and be consistent with message. Keep your product in front of your customers throughout the golf season.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?