The increased use of golf cart GPS technology, along with other advancements aimed at optimizing on-course operations, is changing golf as we know it.
In a recent PGA Magazine cover article, Senior Editor Don Jozwiak said the pace at which the sport has embraced technology “would have seemed unlikely or even impossible less than a decade ago,” and courses that aren’t adapting to this future run the risk of being left behind.
Chip Hierlihy, General Manager at Fieldstone Golf Club, has regular conversations with PGA Professionals on this topic, stating that “if you’re not a part of what’s current in technology today to optimize your business, then you’re really missing the boat.”
Tagmarshal uses golf cart GPS to give courses full, real-time operational oversight and reporting. Course operators and managers using the system provide their teams with automated pace and flow of play management and the tools necessary to enhance the player experience, increase efficiency (saving time and costs!) and generate additional revenue.
With courses under increasing inflationary pressures, finding ways to boost the bottom line has never been more important. More than 25 million Americans played a round in 2022, so shrewd operators who can identify ways to capitalize on the sport’s increasing popularity stand to benefit.
Here are 5 ways Tagmarshal’s golf cart GPS capabilities help its course partners generate additional revenue.
Tagmarshal’s industry-leading golf cart GPS tracking technology uses automation and powerful algorithms to proactively manage pace and flow of play, ensuring that pace-based on-course interventions can take place before bottlenecks occur and flow is negatively affected.
“Having Tagmarshal help us with our pace program and enhancing the experience for all of our members has been a key part of our success. We’re always aware of what’s going on entirely, with a great macro view of the course.”
Danny Mulhearn, Head Golf Professional Glen Oak Country Club
The reduced resources required to patrol the field free up labor hours to focus on service-orientated tasks and consistent pace and course flow increases the likelihood of a positive player experience. This boosts the chances of the player spending additional funds at the pro shop, clubhouse and other facilities, and means they have more time to do so.
“At a private club, people don’t want to be told to speed up. We had to find other ways to have those interactions with members. Our membership may not see Tagmarshal being used, but they definitely see the results and are enjoying their rounds as a result.”
Craig Thomas, Head Golf Professional, Metropolis Country Club
Effective management of the player experience, using automation technology powered by Tagmarshal’s golf cart GPS, includes setting realistic round goal times, which are communicated to players, and monitoring on-course flow.
Course operators have full line-of-sight of the entire course in real-time thanks to the Live Map feature and can intervene where necessary to improve course flow. Those with Tagmarshal’s 2Way devices are able to send messages to a playing group that has fallen out of position, for example, or send a team member directly to the playing group equipped with data to inform a fair, facts-based discussion.
When players know that pace and flow are being prioritized and they can count on finishing their round on or below the stated goal time, there is real value in that.
“Using Tagmarshal’s Analytics has made us much more effective at making player experiences better and improving loyalty. The value of a player enjoying a 4.05h round? It allows you to increase your fees.”
Kevin Paschall, Owner and Operator, Serenoa
Consistently positive golfer experiences increase loyalty across players and members alike, drive repeat play and ensure positive word of mouth – the most cost-effective and trustworthy form of advertising – to drive additional revenue generation.
“Customer Retention for us is huge and improving the player experience through pace of play management plays a big part in what we do on the golf course – Tagmarshal plays a huge part in us achieving this.”
Jim Lombardo, Head Golf Professional, Erin Hills
At clubs operating without Tagmarshal’s golf cart GPS optimization system, longer gap intervals are often used to spread groups out in order to try and avoid on-course bottlenecks and excessive wait times for players.
A gap interval is the amount of time left between tee times, with most clubs leaving anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes between allotted tee times so that there’s a consistent course flow and players aren’t forced to wait on the group ahead of them. However, there’s an obvious downside in that larger gap intervals impact a club’s bottom line, with fewer players out on the course resulting in a loss of revenue.
As the use of technology becomes increasingly common, utilizing pen and paper to record estimated hole and round times has been shown to be both inaccurate and inefficient. Tagmarshal can automate this part of course management, as well as record and provide immediate, actionable data that highlights where additional revenue can be generated.
Measured across times of the day, days of the week, or even a specific course setup, clubs can use Tagmarshal’s technology and data to pinpoint exactly where opportunities exist to tighten gap intervals. During periods or setups that play quicker, gap intervals can be tightened to create additional tee sheet capacity while providing an optimal pace of play for golfers, ensuring their experience isn’t compromised.
“The data has helped us to gain tee times and increase our capacity. That is incredibly valuable to us.”
Devin Gee, Head Golf Professional, Oakmont Country Club
The obvious revenue gain here comes via additional greens fees, but there are also secondary revenue gains from getting more players through the course, such as increased spend at the pro shop and on food and beverages at the clubhouse.
At resort courses where golfers stay on-site and may play multiple rounds while visiting, hotel stays and increased use of amenities such as spas drives further revenue gains. With more tee times to offer, more members are able to play and private courses can consider increasing the size of their membership, bringing in sizeable joining fees and annual membership fees.
“We have reduced our labor expense on the golf course, increased our round capacity, and realized many operational efficiencies utilizing Tagmarshal.”
Mike O’Reilly, PGA Head Professional, Whistling Straits
When considering how to generate additional tee sheet capacity, clubs should always remember that the player experience comes first and foremost. This is where technology is key – to identify optimal gap intervals that support an exceptional player experience based on course data. Without technology, shortening gap intervals too much may drive revenue gains, only for on-course pace and flow of play to suffer adversely, which is not sustainable and won’t necessarily increase their bottom line over a lengthy period.
Certain tee times will always prove more popular than others. For example, early weekend tee times are in far higher demand than those in the same time slots during the week, especially when golf cart GPS technology helps ensure a consistent pace of play during busier periods.
Determining tee time popularity and working out pricing strategies based on the above factors is simple enough, but the demand (and thus the value) for a round also changes based on a multitude of factors outside of a course’s control.
Variable pricing, where the price of a specific tee time is based on the day of the week or time of day, remains static over time. Dynamic pricing, an increasingly popular way for courses to grow their revenue, uses automation to adjust the cost of a round in real-time as supply and demand shifts.
“Between implementing dynamic pricing and bringing in Tagmarshal to improve pace of play – cutting nearly an hour off the average round time – Fieldstone is able to get more golfers on the course at pricing that
better serves the bottom line.”
Chip Hierlihy, General Manager, Fieldstone Golf Club
Dynamic pricing software is most effective when it collects and analyzes large data sets from tee sheet providers and other course management software.
Tagmarshal integrates seamlessly with a wide variety of software solutions and also provides benchmarking data on round times across times of the day and days of the week. When a course knows it can guarantee a pace of play that falls well within the goal time, it can charge more for that round.
Clubs using Tagmarshal’s golf cart GPS 2Way screens have the option to sell advertising space on those screens.
Serving ads at strategic locations around the course to an engaged audience that must interact with the ad in order to proceed with range-finding capabilities, for example, means that a premium can be charged.
Clubs can sell the advertising space themselves, keeping the entirety of the revenue generated, or they can join the Tagmarshal Media network.
If they choose to join the Media network, Tagmarshal will manage the entire process for the club, selling the space to its existing network of premium advertisers and offering a yearly rebate based on seasonality and the number of Tagmarshal 2Way screens. This will offset a large portion of the system’s annual cost.
“Bringing golf technology to a rural golf community has attracted new business. Plus it took almost no time to sell all the hole ad sponsorships, in a month and a half we had basically got the system for free.”
Nic Lapienski, Owner, Arrowhead Golf & Grill
Clubs can also keep some advertising space for their own use to boost revenue, such as showing food and beverage order prompts that are triggered by golf cart GPS tracking as the playing group nears the halfway house or clubhouse.
As the pace at which golf embraces the increased use of technology accelerates, the scope to identify additional avenues for revenue generation and then implement those ideas grows.
Tagmarshal’s golf cart GPS system has helped courses across the US, and right around the world, generate additional revenue without adversely affecting the player experience in any way.
Lowell Weaver, Managing Partner at The Medalist, says, “Tagmarshal has really been beneficial and our bottom line has increased tremendously.”
By giving course operators the tools they need to proactively manage pace and flow of play, the player experience benefits and that positive mindset leads to further revenue gains.
“Tagmarshal has enabled us to effectively implement our pace of play policy, assisting us in reducing playtime, which allowed us to add additional tee times for extra capacity. It pays for itself a hundred times over.”
Jim Lombardo, Head Golf Professional, Erin Hills
Tagmarshal, the market leader in on-course optimization technology, provides courses with full, real-time operational oversight and reporting, giving golf operators the tools to manage pace and flow of play effectively, resulting in enhanced player experiences, increased efficiency through automation, and additional revenue generation.
Tagmarshal’s technology has collected over 1 billion data points from more than 30 million rounds of golf and has relationships with in excess of 500 partners, including Hazeltine, Whistling Straits, Baltusrol, Fieldstone, Bandon Dunes, Serenoa and Erin Hills.
Tagmarshal partners with several golf management groups, private, daily fee, public and resort courses, including 35 of the Top 100 US courses, as well as many $30-$50 green fee courses, which are seeing excellent results using the system.