Player Experience Insights for Successful Golf Course Operations: Part 1

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In this two-part series, we explore why the player experience factor is all-important in golf, the importance of data to a successful golf course operation and how golf management software can ensure success in a club’s daily operations.

We take a look at how golf clubs should think differently about service and the player, member and guest experience to empower a major competitive advantage. Here are some points golf courses should consider:

Why the player experience factor is all-important in golf?

The National Golf Foundation(NGF) recently released its golfer participation report for 2018. The data shows that there has been an increase in golfer participation. The good news is that golf has done a good job of attracting new golfers, with an estimated 2.6 million beginners played on a golf course for the first time.

Although these are pleasing signs for the industry, one may argue, a deeper look at the data findings shows that rounds played have declined by 4.8% year-over-year to an estimated 434 million rounds. A time-sensitive generation contributes a substantial amount to this statistic, as data shows they allocate more of their time at Topgolf and standalone driving range-type of facilities. 

Golf clubs, thus, need to do a better job of retaining customers, especially newcomers by focusing on the player experience. This is particularly significant as there is a direct correlation between participation and satisfaction, and so if the experience and satisfaction levels are high then participation levels increase. 

Think like a king customer –  because the power is yours!

Golf clubs should look to understand how the customer thinks, what really matters to them and define the experience the club stands for. The customer has the power, and so golf clubs should understand that if a poor experience is provided, a customer can be very unforgiving.

In terms of the golfing experience and what influences the buying decision these are some of the metrics customers think about and what clubs should also consider:

  1. The experience: Which may include variables such as course conditioning and layout, staff and service levels, food and beverage, and the flow/pace.
  2. Time: When a golfer can play a round, and how much time does it take?
  3. How it will cost a customer and the value they can get out of the experience?

People generally go to a course with high expectations and facilities need to match this with the experience (conditions, flow & pace, service-levels). Poor conditions can frustrate golfers leading to a poor experience. Golf management software helps to transform these into positive experiences for the golfer, turning factors like pace of play, into an asset . This is when walking in your customer’s shoes is a necessary next measure.

What walking in your customer’s shoes can teach you?

Golf clubs should empower their set-up (playability), teams and staff to be aligned with the customer experience. This can be achieved by joining and observing a first-time customer, or conduct user tests among other things. 

This journey starts at booking a slot online, to arrival at the facility, interactions with the staff through to the food and beverage. 

It is important to focus on every touchpoint in ensuring the player journey meets the player’s expectation and being consistent in every interaction.

In essence, the key to golf clubs is to turn a time-sensitive younger generation and “casual golfers” into regular golfers. Most people do not have the time to spend more than five hours on a course due to various other commitments. 

A consistently, well-managed player experience unquestionably translates into happier golfers and creates an opportunity to add capacity and almost immediately address the issue of declining rounds played. 

Any golfer who sets foot onto the course should be viewed as a potential repeat customer, and every effort needs to be made to win their loyalty. A good round of golf increases loyalty to your club and the exceptional experience turns into a substantial post-round food and beverage revenue opportunity. Adopting golf management software can certainly make this achievable.

Player Experience Insights for Successful Golf Course Operations: Part 2

The Importance of data to a successful golf operation

Today, every golf course is generating and collecting data. But data on its own is not enough. What is needed is an intelligent approach to giving it shape, purpose and an expansive set of analytics to help form insights and drive operational decisions that will pay off.

Golf course management software such as Tagmarshal provides intelligence to fuel optimization, find new opportunities and act on practical insights hidden in your data, helping you to answer the toughest operational questions, uncover patterns and pursue breakthrough ideas.

With the wealth of information that today’s golf course management software provides, especially when it comes to pace of play, clubs are increasingly able to use the extensive data provided to make changes that enhance the player experience.

Courses that provide their staff with tools that give them line-of-sight to create opportunities for a far better understanding of the course, and make it easier to streamline operations and optimize the player experience. 

The data helps to tailor the golfer experience for the individual member, and staff be better prepared and deliver efficient, accurate, data-driven support to members and guests, further adding to a superior experience.

Tagmarshal’s golf course management software to manage on-course operations

They understand their golf course, not just based on intuition, although this certainly helps, but also through the analysis of quantitative data and established trends.

They’ve tailored a pace-policy that matches their course’s unique characteristics, which includes dynamic goal-time setting and efficient resource allocation, such as marshals placed strategically at select times of the day and week.

They generate awareness among members and guests regarding said pace-policy, ensuring that groups and players know exactly what is expected of them.

They equip teams responsible for managing the golf course with line-of-sight tools, an understanding of what to look for before problems arise, and the skills and authority necessary to intervene when needed.

Finally, they capture and analyze course data, and are constantly refining their approach and looking for key areas of improvement.

Turning marshals, starters and player assistants into service managers 

When it comes to on-course interactions, it is the marshals who become the face to the members and guests of the club. That means, it is crucially important to ensure that marshals have the tools to handle challenges that arise, such as pace of play and field flow, in an adaptive and positive manner.

Management can train their on-course staff to follow the script and think on their feet, but there is no substitute for the real-time, on the go objective data and analytics that golf course management software can offer a club. 

With golf course management software that Tagmarshal provides, the staff can implement course rules and regulations, backed by collected information. Additionally, on-course staff no longer need to police golfers. Rather, they offer support that ensures the golfer enjoys an exceptional experience. 

Tagmarshal’s golf course management software means marshals and player assistants can pursue an improved pace of play, based on a positive, non-confrontational and data-driven approach in dealing with members. Success in golf course operations translates right through to the clubhouse and ultimately maximizes revenue for the club.

These insights along with many other best-practices enable courses to achieve their key objectives and optimize the on-course experience.

If you would like to know more watch our free online demo here!

About Tagmarshal

Tagmarshal is a golf course intelligence and pace-of-play management solution that turns pace into an asset. The system uses small “tags” clipped onto golf bags or installed on carts which transmit geolocation data. Industry-leading algorithms identify risk groups with accurate, objective support to alleviate pace challenges before they arise. Public, private and resort courses using Tagmarshal realize substantial returns on investments through improved on-course experiences achieved with less staff as well as increases in daily rounds. Impactful and easy-to-use data analytics, weather data integration and geo-fencing complete the offering.