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It is our job to create more golfers

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

On a National Broadcast of the World Match Play Championship, PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem, said more people are playing golf, just less of it. Does that even make any sense? Let’s see, I have a business with 100 customers who patronize me 10 times a month. If I do my math correctly, that is 1,000 purchases. Now I hire the commish and he sends me another 100 customers. Two hundred new customers, I’m jumping for joy and business is booming. I get greedy and service starts to suffer. My customers are only visiting me 4 times a month. But hey, I have more customers, they are just coming less. So instead of 1,000 purchases, I am now sending out 800 products each month. Does this sound like the way to sum up the state of my business?

The key words in the statement are “more golfers.” Our responsibility as professionals is to help get them playing more. That is an area where we can do better. I play golf at a lot of different courses in my area. I can’t tell you the number of times I run across a pro or staff member who could care less if I am there to play or not. We now live in a world where people have many more options to occupy their time. We can’t take for granted that golf is going to be on the top of the list. We pros can make the difference. Above and beyond should be the motto. As teachers we interact with students all the time. Most just want to enjoy the game and be with friends. So make it pleasant for them. Start a league, introduce them to each other or hold a free clinic for former students. Keep them involved. We can keep the game flourishing.

post #2 of 9

Or your 200 customers could each visit 6 times a month and you'd be up a 20% even though each individual, unique customer purchased 40% less.  Now which would you rather have? 

 

Golf is like any other business.....you have to drive more unique customers into the product/service.  Trying to get more out of each individual customer only works to a certain point, and growth based on that is impossible to sustain.

post #3 of 9

I am fascinated by the concern for growing the game. Here most courses are jammed Apr-Oct. Enough so that customer service at the busier courses is pathetic. The endless traffic has led to subpar course conditions and less than motivated staff. The course I learned how to play on in the 70's, a family favorite, has gotten so bad we don't go anymore. Lack of golfers isn't their problem.

post #4 of 9

I don't think it's public courses that are suffering as much as the private clubs.  Costs to maintain courses has gone up over the last few years and membership has declined. 

 

Most of the private clubs here on Long Island are dropping initiation fees and membership fees in an attempt to attract more members.  This creates numerous problems within the club because part of the membership resents new members getting a deal when they paid the full initiation fees but the alternative is the club and course go bankrupt or raise the membership fees to the existing members to cover the shortfall. 

 

I believe the issues are financial and time related.  No matter how much more fun you try to make golf, if someone can't justify the expense in their budget or allocate 20 hours a week to golf they aren't going to join a private golf course. 

post #5 of 9

Private clubs are quirky and vary quite a bit. Some of the stuff my parents have had to pay for via assessments is pretty wild. It's more than course maintenance. But it's a big facility, pools, tennis, banquet rooms, restaurant etc. If they struggle financially it's because everything else they offer isn't up to snuff with the quality of golf. I can honestly say I've eaten some of the worst food ever there, and I had to put on a sports coat to eat it.

 

I don't doubt that the times, not just the economy has had an affect. I don't think what they are selling appeals to the new generation. I don't see many X-Games types sitting around the pool with the old timers. Considering most of the new developments around here offer bike trails, parks, pools, community centers and more for just the cost of HOA dues it's not surprising people don't want to pay what it takes for country club quality golf.

post #6 of 9

I think the Pros job is to create better golfers not more golfers. Better golfers will play more golf.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasRenegade View Post

I think the Pros job is to create better golfers not more golfers. Better golfers will play more golf.

Only to a certain point. There's a finite limit to how much golf (or any other good/service) the average customer will consume. A growth model based predominately on increasing individual consumption rather than increasing unique customers is unsustainable and WILL fail. Generally sooner rather than later too....
post #8 of 9

You're right on most accounts based on my own experiences.  Most people with kids today don't have the time to eat, drink and hang out at the club for the amount of hours it takes justify the expense of a country club membership.  I agree, X-gamers have little desire to hang out with the retired or extremely wealthy these days. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

 

I don't doubt that the times, not just the economy has had an affect. I don't think what they are selling appeals to the new generation. I don't see many X-Games types sitting around the pool with the old timers. Considering most of the new developments around here offer bike trails, parks, pools, community centers and more for just the cost of HOA dues it's not surprising people don't want to pay what it takes for country club quality golf.

post #9 of 9

I'm sure lots of things factor into it, could vary region to region. But if the frequency of the slow play threads are an indication it seems there are more than enough people out there. What's the chance the infux of new golfers, specifically slow new golfers, are part of what keeps people away. The main complaint I hear is the time it takes to play and the frustration of being out there when it's slow. Certainly stuff like Golf Now has made it more affordable to play. I was out on some really nice courses last year for as little as $22/18 holes with a cart. Despite the bargain times being twilight I was often there far longer than I should have been. A few times we teed off at 5:50-6PM and only made it through 7 holes before it got dark more than two hours later.

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