Using time as a tool

by Golf Business Magazine

The sports industry is in the midst of a big data revolution. Sabermetrics have overtaken Major League Baseball, with organizations beefing up their front offices with analytics experts, while player tracking and stat crunching continues to permeate professional and amateur basketball leagues. As such, our golf industry is now finally starting to use hard metrics to make its own more informed decisions.

Mention pace of play and you’ll generally get a variety of defensive responses. Everyone knows that it’s one of the primary factors to a golfer’s enjoyment of their round, but the term has still somehow managed to take on a negative connotation. However, as pace management technology has become more refined over the last few years, the smartest golf operators will be those who substitute gut feeling for real analysis.

Even for courses that don’t consider pace of play to be an issue, a well-managed field that allows an extra round to fit in on the busiest day of each week can have an enormous effect on revenue. Consider the savings on staff if a golf course owner or operator could identify bottlenecks and risk groups before they actually arise. Imagine developing profiles for our golfers, finding where they drop below pace, and selling instruction programs to help them improve their game. What about incentivizing faster players with earlier rounds?

Monitoring the speed of play doesn’t have to indicate that a golf course has a problem. As the industry continues to adapt to new norms, the facilities with smarter tracking will have a sizeable competitive advantage.