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Why Golf Cart GPS Data Is Your Course’s Superpower

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2024 looks set to be another big year for the golf industry, backed up by golf cart GPS data from January, and courses will continue to see high traffic volumes.

While that is great news for operators, it also means that they will be under pressure to deliver consistent player experiences, both in terms of pace of play and course flow.

Due to labor shortages and rising wage costs, many operators have smaller teams at their disposal. The increased use of technology and automation is one way to mitigate this, as is gathering and using data to better understand every facet of how a course runs, leading to optimization.

Courses that gather extensive data sets can turn that into information, and then turn that information into insight, enabling better decision-making processes.

Tagmarshal’s system will provide your course with the data you need to make informed operational decisions, so you and your team can enhance the player experience, increase efficiency and generate additional revenue for your course.

Used correctly, data gathered via golf cart GPS is your course’s superpower. Let’s unpack how gathering and using this data effectively will transform your operation.

Data From Golf Cart GPS And The Player Experience

Running mental or pen-and-paper calculations on each group’s time to schedule is an inefficient and ineffective way to monitor pace of play. Without golf cart GPS data, trying to accurately update or identify groups that are behind on pace or out of position is a difficult task and players can get defensive if approached.

With Tagmarshal’s Live Map feature, you will have real-time, full line of sight of where each group is on your course. Through advanced AI and machine-learning, Tagmarshal’s powerful algorithms identify potential problem groups before issues arise. Your player assistants can now be targeted with their interventions.

The interactions between your player assistants and your golfers have a significant impact on the player experience. A study by the USGA found these interactions are the highest-rated player experience factor, with the ability to make or break how a player recalls their round.

Use the data generated by Tagmarshal to transform your conversations with players, adding value and increasing the on-course sentiment, while also making it easier to have pace-based discussions where needed.

“Tagmarshal takes all the question marks out of any conversation about pace. We are not talking about perception because I have all of the data.” Chip Hierlihy, PGA, General Manager, Fieldstone Golf Club

Player interactions without data often end with ‘it’s not us, it’s the people in front of us’ or complaints based on perceptions of pace. Equipped with data from golf cart GPS tracking, player engagements are objective and the timing data and pace trend stats Tagmarshal provides can be used to facilitate discussions fairly.

For problem groups, a good way to frame the conversation would be to say, “We have a system that helps us ensure we effectively manage the flow of play and I have noticed you have fallen a bit out of position. It would be great if you could help me out and catch up a few minutes or get within a stroke of the group ahead.”

Post-round conversations, where a player feels like the round ran too long and you have no data to rely on for what is always a sensitive conversation, often end with you apologizing to defuse the situation diplomatically.

With readily accessible, accurate and impartial data found in Tagmarshal’s Track Map feature, the entire conversation can be reframed and handled more effectively.

Simplifying Golf Cart GPS Data In The Analytics Hub

One of the biggest challenges head professionals or golf managers face, if not the biggest, is that without golf cart GPS technology, they don’t have an effective way to meaningfully measure their course’s pace and flow of play.

Manual recording of data is ineffective, labor intensive, and difficult to keep up to date. Valuable hours are spent inputting data into spreadsheets, related to a single day’s play or even a single hole. But what does that really tell you about variables that impact course flow such as player volume, course setup, course conditions, and weather, to name just a few?

Tagmarshal’s Analytics Hub is a game-changing set of tools and data insights that will make managing your course easier and more effective. It brings together the data gathered across Tagmarshal’s wide range of features, into one central, simplified hub.

The Analytics Hub highlights potential areas for improvement and showcases data in an actionable way, empowering course operators to make optimal decisions across a number of areas.

The Analytics Hub is amazing and helps get an accurate, complete picture with data backing this up as opposed to guessing what’s going on.” Kris Dennis, General Manager, Tierra Rejada Golf Course

The Playing Group Performance bar chart gives you a clear visual representation of many important data sets. Days of the week that play quicker or slower are easily identifiable, the number of interactions and interventions can be tracked, and having groups logged as twosomes, threesomes, and foursomes means you get a clearer picture of the average round times of each.

Starter accuracy data reveals how much of an impact a late tee-off has on each round, as well as the rounds that follow. The Analytics Hub makes it possible to automatically track this data, every single day and identify trends your team needs to focus on.

For example, low starter accuracy could mean your starter requires extra training to ensure players make their way to the first tee box on time, or better signage is needed to speed players up upon arrival.

The hole stats data makes it easy to spot opportunities to optimize your hole setups. It also shows how long players are waiting on each tee box and identifies where bottlenecks are most likely to occur. Where a hole consistently takes longer than its goal time, you may consider an easier hole placement or look at sharing information with players on how best to play the hole.

Looking closely at the Pace Distribution chart will give you a more contextual view of on-course traffic performance. Quicker rounds are great, but from a data perspective, they skew average round times, balancing out slow rounds. The Pace Distribution chart provides a true and comprehensive look at how completed rounds compare to the goal time you have set.

“We have continued to get faster year after year using Tagmashal, and can pinpoint exact days and times of the day when the course plays quickest.” Cade Hassel, PGA, Head Golf Professional, Country Club of Castle Pines

When utilized together, the powerful data insights housed in the Analytics Hub give you the tools you need to ensure you are prioritizing the player experience, as well as holding your team accountable for continuous improvement across different metrics.

Setting interaction targets for team members drives positive on-course encounters, which has proven to be a booster for your course’s Net Promoter Score, driving repeat play and increasing member loyalty. 

Protecting Your Turf With Golf Cart GPS Data

Your greenskeeping team wants to protect certain areas of your course regularly and likely enforce ‘cart path only’ days when conditions are wet. But without data and golf cart GPS tracking, there’s no way of knowing whether players are being compliant and holding them accountable for their actions.

Tagmarshal geofencing allows your team to set up geofences and geofence templates that you can activate on certain days or times and toggle on and off as required.

At any point during or after a round, a full record of all geofence breaches is found on Tagmarshal’s system. In a post-round conversation, you can open the Track Map feature and show a player exactly where and when they entered a restricted area. The system-logged evidence of each breach, tied to the cart, round and players in that group, can be used to educate, ensure compliance, and issue a warning as needed.

“The geofencing works phenomenally and we really like that Tagmarshal’s system doesn’t shut the carts down, which is a much more effective way of doing things.” Ben Wilson, General Manager, Willow Springs Golf Course

Areas where there are regular breaches can be identified and additional measures, such as increased signage, can be implemented to prevent player entry. It may also be the case that the geofence borders are set too tightly, and those can be adjusted accordingly.

Along with seeing less damage to sensitive areas of the course, the 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 approach to conditioning.

With the ability to toggle geofence groups on and off depending on the weather, your course will react immediately to shifting conditions, saving labor hours and protecting your turf.

Using Golf Cart GPS Data To Set Realistic Goals

Continuous, incremental improvement starts with setting short and then longer-term goals. However, setting goals for improvement is very difficult without an understanding of what is realistically achievable during a season, or from one year to the next, based on golf cart GPS tracking.

In addition, manually gathering and updating data to track performance and reporting is labor-intensive, and key trends are easy to miss.

Tagmarshal’s Goal Setting feature allows you to set goals for the season ahead within the Analytics Hub for all key metrics, helping to track, manage, optimize, and report on performance with ease.

“With Tagmarshal, we can fully understand what is achievable and set goals. Our pace has never been better and our NPS is at 82.” Philip Tobias, PGA, Golf Professional, Keystone, Vail Resorts

Just like improvements in a player’s golf game, operational results are an automatic by-product of good processes and habits over time. The Goal Setting page is the tool to benchmark and measure those.

A 1% improvement every day might not sound like much, but over the course of a season, those gains add up and will have a transformational effect on how your course operates.

Building Player Profiles And Assigning Tee Sheets With Golf Cart GPS Data

Tagmarshal has a long list of tee sheet integration partners, including ForeTees, Lightspeed, Club Prophet, Jonas and foreUP, to make the process as efficient as possible.

To simplify the data-gathering process, Tagmarshal’s intuitive system combines your tee sheet data with golf cart GPS technology to automatically assign the tracking device in use to the player names in that group, as they enter the trigger zone entry point at their first tee.

Deeper data capture and logging opens up a wide range of possibilities. Building out player profiles means that private clubs have a record of the pace of play of each member and can assign appropriate tee times and offer on-course service tailored to their preferences.

For daily fee and resort courses, you’ll be aware of whether you’re dealing with a first-time or repeat player, as well as gaining insight into the effect that twosomes, threesomes, and foursomes have on your course flow.

“Where Tagmarshal stands apart from competitors is building out player profiles with historical data, giving a complete picture which is available whenever we need to use it.” Kory Reitz, Director of Golf, Secession Golf Club

Some courses, like Pinehurst and Erin Hills, use tee sheet assignment as an opportunity to gain data on variables such as the number of first-time players versus return players, or compile information that helps guide players to use appropriate tee boxes based on their skill levels.

Other courses use the tee sheet assignment to indicate VIPs that require extra attention or to let their staff know a disabled golfer is playing with deactivated geofences for increased accessibility.

There is a vast array of customization opportunities you could use to gather specific data sets.

 How Golf Cart GPS Data Helps Generate Additional Revenue

As you familiarize yourself with Tagmarshal’s golf cart GPS system and your pace of play and course flow improves, you may identify opportunities to add additional tee times without impacting the player experience. This is a huge win for daily fee courses and private courses that want to keep members happy.

In addition, players are willing to pay more and will make decisions to play or not play a course based on their pace experience and feedback from others. Committees and course owners are now mandating course GMs and head professionals to proactively approach pace and flow management to ensure a consistent experience.

If you’re looking for a company that is going to help you with revenue, and make a difference in your pace of play and expenses, I would highly recommend using Tagmarshal.” Kevin Paschall, Owner and Operator, Serenoa

Fieldstone Golf Club has used Tagmarshal to manage pace and on-course operations optimally, using data to identify opportunities to create additional tee times without impacting on field flow, and tied that in with dynamic pricing for maximum business benefit. This has resulted in an 85% increase in greens revenue over 3 years, further improving their Net Promoter Score and intent to return.

Pinehurst Resort saw its year-on-year Net Promoter Score increase by 12 points on course number 2 and 20 points on course number 4, citing Tagmarshal as a key resource in making this happen.

Conclusion

Data is playing an increasingly important role in how modern businesses operate, and running a golf course is no different. 

The bottom line is that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. By implementing Tagmarshal, you’re maximizing the amount of data that your facility gathers, gaining valuable insights from the metrics and insights provided within the Analytics Hub.

This enables your team to identify areas where gains can be made to drive continuous, 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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