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Education Series: 5 Reasons Why Data Is Your Course’s Superpower

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The golf industry is set for a bumper 2024, following a year of record traffic with 531 million rounds played across the US.

Courses are increasingly finding themselves under pressure, trying to deliver consistent player experiences, both in terms of pace of play and course flow, amid a high volume of rounds.

By embracing technology and automation, and using this to collect data that helps them better understand every facet of how a course runs, operators can make informed decisions that lead to optimal performance.

In addition, with the rise of AI, operators are finding that the more data they gather, the greater the opportunity for machine learning to benefit, thereby strengthening the insight the system delivers.

Used correctly, the data generated by optimization systems like Tagmarshal will be your course’s superpower. Let’s unpack how effectively gathering and using this data will transform your operation.

DATA HELPS YOU ENHANCE THE PLAYER EXPERIENCE

Pace and flow of play consistently rank among the top factors impacting a player’s enjoyment of their round. Through the use of advanced AI and machine learning, based on data from more than 50 million rounds, Tagmarshal’s powerful algorithms identify potential problem groups before issues arise.

With proactive pace management, you can avoid on-course bottlenecks and ensure a steady course flow.

A study by the USGA also found that golfer interactions with player assistants (previously referred to as marshals) can make or break how a player recalls their round. Use the data gathered and generated by Tagmarshal to transform your conversations with players, ensuring they are neutral and fact-based while adding value to the experience.

With built-out, data-rich player profiles, showing their full pace history, you can assign appropriate tee times, as well as offer on-course service tailored to their particular preferences.

PRO TIP: You can reframe post-round conversations with players by using Tagmarshal’s Track Map, which includes all logged interactions, geofence breaches and their pace against your goal time.

DATA UNLOCKS INSIGHTS AND AIDS OPTIMAL DECISION-MAKING

Raw data is a starting point for improvement, but to do so you need to find a way to spot trends. With Tagmarshal’s Analytics Hub, all of the data gathered by the system’s extensive feature set is brought together and presented in an insightful, visually appealing, simplified manner.

Following a powerful system upgrade, which shows each member of your team menu options that are relevant to their role so they can analyze what is important to them, the Analytics Hub is fine-tuned to show you unique data insights that highlight areas for improvement.

These include:

  • Playing Group Performance bar charts – help identify periods that play quicker and track on-course interactions and interventions.
  • Starter accuracy data – reveals how much of an impact a late tee-off has on each round, as well as the rounds that follow.
  • Hole stats data – makes it easy to spot opportunities to optimize your hole setups and shows how long players are waiting on each tee box.
  • Pace Distribution charts – provide a true and comprehensive look at how completed rounds compare to the goal time you have set and what proportion of your players are on pace.

Aiding better decision-making for optimal course management, these powerful data insights give you the tools you need to ensure you are prioritizing the player experience, as well as holding your team accountable for continuous improvement.

PRO TIP: Tagmarshal integrates with more than 25 of the world’s leading golf technology systems, bringing exponential value to your course by combining data insights from multiple sources to help you unlock new opportunities.

DATA DRIVES CONTINUOUS, INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT

To achieve continuous, incremental improvement, you need to set short and long-term goals. This is only possible if you have benchmark data that helps you understand what is realistically possible across a season, or from one year to the next, at your course.

Using Tagmarshal’s Goal Setting feature, you can set your team goals, which are reflected in the Analytics Hub. These can be set across key metrics:

  • Rounds on Pace: How many rounds finish within your course’s goal time on a given day.
  • Interactions Per Day: This can be a friendly check-in or an intervention with players on the course.
  • Intervention Success: An intervention is considered a success then it results in a group getting back on pace and finishing the round within the goal time.
  • Assignment: The number of tags that have group or caddie names assigned to them.

PRO TIP: A 1% improvement every day across an entire season quickly adds up, leading to a transformational effect on how your course operates.

DATA HELPS PROTECT YOUR TURF

These days, it’s not enough to rely on signage alone to protect sensitive areas of your course.

Tagmarshal’s geofencing technology allows you to create geofence templates, which can be toggled between depending on weather conditions and other variables.

To help with accountability, all geofence breaches are logged in Tagmarshal’s system and are accessible during or after a round. In the case of the latter, make use of the Track Map feature to show players the exact time and location that they transgressed.

As you build out the tracking data, you can identify areas where regular breaches occur and increase protective measures such as additional signage.

Tagmarshal’s Heatmap Visualization feature (seen above) will identify areas that are receiving high traffic. This works by entering a course utilization time frame, which then depicts all collected geolocation data by carts and walkers that the system has tracked. Visible wear patterns reveal areas with the most traffic, which are the most at risk of soil compaction.

PRO TIP: Using data, your maintenance team can be more targeted in their approach to upkeep, reducing expenses in areas like fertilizer and water use for a more eco-friendly, sustainable approach.

DATA HELPS GENERATE ADDITIONAL REVENUE

Through proactive pace management strategies enabled by Tagmarshal, you’ll find your pace of play and course flow steadily improving. The next step is using the data to identify opportunities to add additional tee times, in a way that doesn’t impact the player experience.

Daily fee and resort courses benefit from immediate and significant revenue gains, while private clubs can offer their members greater opportunities to play during peak periods.

With improved pace and course flow, players are generally willing to pay more for a round and are more likely to return to play your course again.

PRO TIP: Dynamic pricing, where the price of a round shifts in response to real-time supply and demand, works best when your course can guarantee players an enjoyable pace and flow of play.

CONCLUSION

Without data, your course is essentially flying blind when trying to solve its challenges, and you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

As technology such as AI and machine learning have developed and become integral to modern-day business operations, efficiencies in collecting and processing data have made huge strides.

By ensuring that you are best utilizing the course data you gather, you’ll identify areas where gains can be made, driving incremental improvements and the optimization of your on-course operations.

ABOUT TAGMARSHAL

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.

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