Golfer Satisfaction 2023

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America’s foremost economists principally say we’re in a bull market.  Riding that wave, along with the Covid effect, golf is similarly red hot.

That said, there’s still a minority of golf businesses which are flat and down in financial performance.  Chalk one up for savvy owners of golf courses, country clubs and resorts who outsource their operations to professional management companies.

With this thinking in mind, we turned to Landscapes Golf Management, operator of more than 60 properties.  The company is well known for training its team members to consistently delight members and guests like they’re VIPs at the Oscars.  For example, at five of its courses in the highly competitive Chicago-Wisconsin markets, this behavior shows:

  • Share of Wallet – Total spend is up 21.5% year-over-year; 20% in golf, 12.9% in food-and-beverage and 51% in annual pass and membership revenues.
  • Optimism – Qualitatively, CX feedback on social media, in pro shops and via referrals (think play here, not there) is more positive than ever by a four-figure percentage tally.
  • Events – Double-digit percentage increases over pre-pandemic levels for golf outings, leagues and full-field shotgun tournaments.
  • Instruction – Demand among first-time golfers especially is at a high watermark as programs like PGA Junior League are ushering in newbies, especially juniors, at an unprecedented, 50% greater pace than recent years.
  • Respect – Why do so many golf operators make members and guests feel staff is unappreciative of their patronage? Be servant leaders whereby every reasonable whim and request is met with indisputable satisfaction.  Landscapes Golf Management’s participation index is 141 versus a national average of 100.  Treat people correctly and they’ll be yours forever.  In business dialect, it’s cost of acquisition and lifetime value calculations.
  • Enjoyment – Exceeding golfers’ expectations is cliché unless there’s supportive data. Landscapes Golf Management’s average receipt and sales are up 43.9% and 51.6%, respectively.  The company’s thesis is that golf is for everyone, and scores only matter if you want them to.
  • Broader Market – One way to loosely survey golfer types, in addition to Landscapes Golf Management’s outstanding 90%-plus player data capture, is eyeballing state license plates in the parking lot. Respect for guests equals positive word-of-mouth reputation with golfers’ traveling farther to experience your sensational offerings.

“Golfers are no different than the rest of us,” says Rick Walrath, Area Manager for Landscapes Golf Management.  “Overwhelming them with kindness begets kindness in return.”

A healthy market notwithstanding, golfers will opt for offerings down the street if they’re not wowed along every touchpoint of their journeys.  That, folks, is the difference between profit and loss for golf course owners and operators.

“It gets quite expensive to acquire members and guests,” says Walrath.  “That’s why it’s incumbent on staff to be trained to do everything within their power to keep golfers playing frequently at your course and not dart elsewhere.”

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into what makes third-party operators like Landscapes Golf Management so special.

 

Rich Katz

Rich Katz is Founder and CEO of Katz Strategy, a golf business and marketing advisory firm. One of golf’s most networked executives for 30-plus years, he founded golf-marketer Buffalo Agency (now Buffalo Groupe), was agent to PGA TOUR players and held leadership positions at Billy Casper Golf. rkatz@katzstrategy.com.

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