Education Series: How to use tech to attract off-course golfers to your operation

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For the first time, according to National Golf Foundation (NGF) research, growth in off-course golf is now higher than in on-course golf. 

Off-course golf – real club, real ball, full-swing driving range or simulator-related – has illustrated the openness of that audience to technology as part of their experience, and their expectation that this extends into the on-course environment.

An estimated 2.5 million (10%) of today’s 25.6 million on-course players “credit their off-course experience(s) for getting them to the golf course,” with around half of on-course golfers agreeing that off-course “reengaged them” with the sport, according to a follow-up NGF study.

It’s clear that an opportunity exists for the industry to capitalize on this, appealing to an engaged and tech-savvy market segment to get them onto the course.

Here are 5 ways you can use technology to attract off-course golfers to your facility and turn them into repeat players.

1. Manage pace and flow of play effectively

Time is a barrier to entry for many off-course golfers who are interested in playing on-course golf.

With optimization technology like Tagmarshal, you can proactively manage pace and flow of play, steadily reducing average round times and addressing potential bottleneck issues before they affect the entire field. 

Knowing they will play their round in a clearly communicated time makes golf more accessible to time-stressed people, like parents or working professionals.

PRO TIP: Encourage ‘ready golf’ and have visible signage that outlines the rules and etiquette around doing so for new players.

2. Embrace player-facing tech

Off-course golf is largely centered around the use of technology and reveals a market segment that is comfortable on this front. Showing that on-course golf is embracing the myriad ways technology benefits players and courses helps with this transition.

When new players see GPS tracking devices in use, or screens around the clubhouse showing real-time pace-tracking measures like Tagmarshal’s Live Map, it reinforces that the golf space is rapidly modernizing.

PRO TIP: On courses using Tagmarshal’s 2Way 8inch screens, players can see to-the-pin yardage, pace of play and other real-time stats, mirroring some of what they’re used to off-course.

3. Allocate specific tee times for newer players

Courses need to balance the desire to attract off-course golfers with the importance of pace of play, given that 74% of players list pace as a top 3 factor impacting their experience.

To mitigate this, offer new players the opportunity to tee off later in the day when their pace won’t impact the rest of the field as much.

You can also offer shorter formats, like 9-hole rounds late in the afternoon, to encourage new players who may not want to (or are unable to) commit to a full round.

PRO TIP: Advise new players on which tees they should play from, to speed up pace and increase their enjoyment.

4. Upskill and empower your player assistants with data

USGA research shows that negative interactions with player assistants have the potential to derail a player’s enjoyment of their round.

Off-course players are used to having data and statistics readily available as part of their experience. If you can give your player assistants access to objective data, such as real-time pace updates on where each group is relative to your round goal time, new golfers are likely to respond well to their feedback, rather than the exchange adversely affecting their round.

PRO TIP: Train your player assistants to offer encouragement and advice wherever possible, creating a less intimidating environment for new golfers.

5. Get feedback to drive improvement

Embrace technology to elicit feedback from first-time on-course players, finding out which areas they enjoy and where they feel you could improve.

Companies like Players 1st, a customer experience management platform, will help you get rapid, quantifiable insight from those transferring to on-course golf.

If you listen to player feedback and adapt services to their needs, they will reward you with loyalty.

PRO TIP: Tagmarshal acts as a central hub for integrations, combining multiple data sets that all drive improvement, with player feedback as one such example.


Golf courses have been gifted an opportunity to attract an already engaged audience, with interest in taking up the sport five times higher among those with off-course experience than those without.

The conversion rate is steadily growing and the NGF estimates that two-thirds of those who have just taken up on-course golf have prior off-course experience 

By embracing the use of technology at your course, you can help attract first-time players and turn them into repeat players who remain loyal to your facility.


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.