5 key learnings from the USGA Golf Innovation Symposium – Being customer led

5 key learnings from the USGA Golf Innovation Symposium – Being customer led

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In the series of 5 Key Learnings from the 5th USGA Golf Innovation Symposium, at which the USGA set a challenge to the golf industry of reducing resource consumption and increasing golfer satisfaction, here is the 5th and final key learning:

  1. Being customer led: Understanding, using and maximizing the net promoter score (NPS) for business success

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a common key metric in many industries that measures the customer’s loyalty to a product or service as well as their willingness to return and refer –  in short the answer to the question ““How likely is it that you would recommend to a friend or colleague?” rated from 0 to 10. According to Jacob Buksted of golfer survey tool Players 1st, Promoters are: 4.2x more likely to buy again, 5.6x more likely to forgive a company after a mistake, 7.2x more likely to try a new offering. A high NPS is worth higher revenues.

What matters most in golf? Golfer surveys reveal key trends on what scores high and low on the NPS scale. In line with the player experience research conducted by the USGA, the Players 1st results also show the single biggest negative NPS score is flow of play.

Medium to good flow of play: NPS of 49
Bad flow of play: NPS of 5 (extremely low)

Credit: USGA Golf Innovation Symposium – Jacob Buksted, Players 1st  

There is also an immediate correlation between feeling welcome, flow of play, having met and interacted with on-course staff and the likelihood % of visiting the restaurant and the resulting NPS of the overall experience:

Credit: USGA Golf Innovation Symposium – Jacob Buksted, Players 1st  

It is obvious that the hold-ups and additional time spent on the course due to poor flow, waiting and delayed start eating into players’ available time budget for the post-round restaurant. A positive flow and good all-round experience therefore not only results in a higher NPS with the improved loyalty, but also into immediate post-round food and beverage revenue.  

So it is no longer a question, do we have a problem we need to fix? The research is overwhelming in that the industry has an obligation to use flow and time of play and the general on-course experience as a game-changing, high NPS score strategy to delight players and create loyalty, repeat play and optimise revenue opportunities.

In conclusion:

Golf needs to evolve further. Its willingness to do so will determine its future. While tradition is part of the undoubted character and charm of the game, golf has shown that it can adopt change successfully. The switch from wooden to metal clubs, the seemingly overnight switch from metal spikes to soft spikes, introductions like shot tracer in golf broadcasting are some examples. The stakeholders who shape the game of tomorrow are the players of the future, who demand flexibility, fun, high service-delivery levels, accessibility, inclusivity and for the game to fit with their available spend budgets, and importantly pace and flow experience and time budgets.

The future of golf delights its players, existing and new, it is quicker, mindful of time and a high value experience. Time to get to work.

Live poll at USGA Golf Innovation Symposium 2019, Tokyo

Tagmarshal is industry trusted and proven to add material value in the on-course operational and on-course and flow experience management space.

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About the author:

Bodo Sieber is the CEO of golf course optimization and pace of play management system Tagmarshal.
An experienced solutions architect for software systems focusing on business intelligence, GIS and process optimization, he has been recognized for innovation in golf and has spoken at Golf Business Tech Con, as well as being quoted in Forbes, Golf Digest, USA Today, Compleat Golfer and PGA Magazine.

With Tagmarshal, Bodo and his team have been bringing extensive data and geomatics experience into golf operations for five years. The company’s focus is on creating the best possible way to manage the on-course experience and flow of golf for improved player satisfaction and increased profitability. The concept behind what is now a ‘golf course intelligence’ data platform, perhaps unsurprisingly started on a 15th hole that had three playing groups backed up, at the end of a long, frustrating round of golf.

Having collected almost 1 billion data-points, by tracking over 7 million rounds of golf, Tagmarshal add value to 8 of the top 10 US Public courses, a number of US and international top 100 private clubs with rapid adoption in the mid tier of the market.


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 50 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.