Golf Facilities

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Add your facility to the ultimate destination for traveling golfers

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The Latest from The Index

Golf Course Operator Holding Ipad

Boosting efficiency and profits, G1 is a system in high demand for 2019

Jan 08, 2019

Widespread acceptance of the G1 Platform

Early adopters of GolfNow One, better known as G1, have given the course management platform high marks. To hear them tell it, G1 has solved problems, streamlined customer purchases across the board and made it easier to manage golf facilities effectively. That positive feedback has circulated through the market and produced a long list of new signups requesting the technology. More than 300 golf courses have switched to G1, including the entire portfolio managed by industry leader Billy Casper Golf.

With enthusiasm for this innovative cloud-based solution heating up, installations of G1 will be occurring at a rapid rate as 2018 winds down and the new year commences. The relative quiet of the off season at northern facilities allows decision-makers some distraction-free time to evaluate their tech situation and see about making a system change. Ideally, that could be done soon enough in order to train staff prior to opening day next spring.

G1 checks a lot of boxes, even before you factor in its cloud-based advantages. The golf management software combines all software and operating systems into one technology platform, including tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, employee schedules, inventory, payroll, vendor relations, and more. The cloud part means that all these functions can be controlled via G1 by a golf course operator from an internet-connected smartphone or tablet, any time and from any location.

G1 user Tom Beeler was in Florida last winter playing golf when some freak warmth sent Pittsburgh golfers to his electronic tee sheet, hoping to tee it up. Beeler, who is PGA director of golf and general manager of Grand View Golf Club in the Steel City suburb of North Braddock, Pa., booked a couple dozen players from his location 1,000 miles away.

“I had an employee pull out some carts and tuck the keys out of sight,” says Beeler, “then I instructed the golfers to text me so I could tell them where to look.” He has taken inquiries from banquet groups while out of town during the off-season and leveraged G1 to get those events on the calendar. “I’ve booked some big parties from down South as easily as if I was home,” he says.

Beeler stays in conversation with his GolfNow Plus specialist to keep apprised of updates and additions to the G1 features and functionality. At the current time he has not yet chosen to have a credit-card swipe added to the tablets used by his first-tee staff, though in 2019 that option will probably be exercised. “If I added that, it would mean on slower days I could move all payments out to my starter on the tee, and not have to open the golf shop. My starter could swipe the payment and I’d could trim payroll to fit my revenue level,” says Beeler.

Even as he keeps a lookout for upgrades, Beeler remains highly satisfied with the way the G1 system’s design makes it an easy learning curve for front-line workers, even if they’ve worked for decades using pre-digital tools. “G1 is set up so that the basics can be done easily, even by people who haven’t been using computers all their lives,” Beeler says. Grand View has full liquor license for the entire facility and can sell six-packs of beer straight out of the shop with purchase of a green fee, not to mention breakfast or lunch snacks, and sodas or coffee. “These are quick add-ons to their payment for golf and our people have a streamlined digital means of quickly getting it processed,” he says.

Asked about problem-solving by G1 at Grand View, Beeler goes straight to the pain point of green-fee receipts that are somehow lost between the shop and No. 1 tee. “Everybody loses that slip,” he says, “all the honest people who actually paid, as well as the people who are trying to beat the system by saying they lost it when, in fact, they hadn’t paid. Now we have most players’ credit card numbers on file and they just pop their heads in and say they’ve arrived—the starter can see the payment recorded on his tablet.” And any pilfering at Grand View is steadily going away as a result. “It is very hard to beat us at this point,” Beeler said, “we have every possible excuse covered with G1.”

Per the request of his GolfNow rep, Beeler speaks up readily when he hits upon a potential improvement to the software. “I’ve mentioned to our guy at GolfNow that there are some functions they could probably improve by eliminating keystrokes and mouse clicks—making it more streamlined,” says Beeler. “They always thank me and tell if or when the fix could go in. Other systems I’ve had aren’t so amenable to that—the rep starts defending his product. You never get that with GolfNow.”

Different facilities have different upgrades and efficiencies they hope to achieve—a superior tech package that’s built to serve all needs will readily provide exactly what’s needed or something very close. Word on the street is that G1 is delivering solutions across the board.


G1 platform means a new golfer experience

G1 platform means a new golfer experience

Nov 27, 2018

Cloud-based, but that’s just the starting point

Innovations marketed to luxury hotels in the 1920s included the NCR motorized cash register, the Sloan tankless toilet and Hoover’s first upright vacuum cleaner. Overall efficiency was boosted by these inventions, though none of them offered a way to improve customer service.

When room service debuted in 1931 at New York’s Waldorf Astoria, you had back-office efficiency combined with a compelling upgrade to the guest experience … now we’re talking!

That kind of talk these days within golf course management circles is all about G1.

You devise a digital management platform that can deliver these benefits only if you start out with customer-centric focus—that’s indeed how it was in the planning and development of GolfNow One – or G1 for short. G1 is next-generation cloud-based technology for golf facility management that holds itself to high standards where efficiency and integration are concerned, but seeks to set itself apart by delivering a “frictionless experience,” as Kelvin Wierks describes it, for golfers.

“People didn’t know they needed Uber until Uber came along,” observes Wierks, who is Senior Director, Business Platforms, for GolfNow Technology. “Streamlining everything the consumer does throughout the economy is a sweeping trend, and we know golf courses will benefit from it immensely.”

As a business management platform, G1 combines all software and operating systems used at a golf facility into one platform. So that’s tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, employee schedules, inventory, payroll, vendor relations, and more—all controllable by an Internet-connected device, from anywhere.

Explaining the mindset and mission behind G1 development, Wierks differentiated between a vendor that can improve an operation at the margins versus one determined to bring game-changing differences in how a course serves its customer. “We’re about helping an operator grow their business, not just run their business.” he explains. “A course partner of ours should measure G1 on whether it brings in more customers and influences customers to return more often and spend more on each visit.”

On the “spend more” question, some early evidence is in, namely beverage-cart revenue at Peoria Pines Golf Course in the Phoenix suburbs. Scott Richmond, GM of Peoria Pines, is just finishing his second month as a G1-powered facility and already has made an upward forecast for beverage-cart sales. Actual revenue for that category in the fiscal year now closing is $50,000—but he’s projecting a 25 percent increase for the 12 months upcoming.

“This industry has 99 percent of beverage carts out on the fairways using cash, which absolutely holds down spending compared to what we’d get if payments could be made by credit card,” Richmond says. “In one month using G1, I saw that proven out. As a result that revenue line on our 2018-19 budget went up.”

Chase McGowin, GM at Twelve Stones Golf Club outside of Nashville, Tenn., also touts the efficiency of G1 with his course’s beverage cart operation. “Everything we sell automatically gets pulled out of our inventory, so we know where we are at any given moment,” he said.

McGowin doesn’t stop there, saying G1 also has improved his check-in process. “We now have a much more efficient system,” he said. “Our starter used to have to walk back to the pro shop to resolve any situation – causing us to fall a tee time or two behind. Now, with a tablet in hand and the G1 platform, he can solve those types of situations right there on the tee.

“It just makes things more efficient. Golfers are playing in a more appropriate time frames and they don’t complain about slow play.”

Other dynamic shifts and upgrades in customer experience with G1 will be welcomed on the golf side of his business as they develop—but for now, Richmond says he also loves the changes he’s seeing in his restaurant operation. Servers at Peoria Pines are taking meal and drink orders by tablet and staying on the floor to continue serving customers instead of heading toward a point-of-sale terminal at the bar to make entries.

“Incorrect orders, missed items and delays in getting the orders in front of the cooks—that all happens when you’re using paper and pen then getting interrupted on your way to the terminal,” says Richmond. “That’s not happening anymore, which has produced a lot of positive results. Customers get a better experience, the servers are less stressed and we can turn tables faster.” One unintended positive is better tip money, which further adds to employee morale. “A digital restaurant check has gratuity options automatically generated, and what we’ve found is that patrons all seem to choose the middle option, 20 percent,” Richmond says. “That’s increased the average gratuity from 15 percent to 21.5 percent.”

Josh Brunet, general manager of Eagle Lakes Golf Club in Naples. Fla., is another early adopter. “The G1 product has been an excellent asset to our company and we’re excited about its potential to take us to the next level,” says Brunet. “We’ve been able to use G1 to seamlessly integrate our tee sheet, give our staff the mobility of a tablet to operate more efficiently, and the marketing tools also are integrated, so it’s extremely valuable to us.”

Brunet is expecting his G1 experience to only improve, based on GolfNow’s strategy of building it with a feature package that’s foundational, not maxed-out, and directing its team of 15 dedicated engineers to make upgrades quickly and regularly based on partner feedback. “You can always find new technology out there, but a lot of companies provide it to you and disappear,” he says. “With GolfNow and G1, we’re in constant communication. Their support is best in the business by far.”

That’s a nice compliment, but only fitting when a course partner commits to a new management platform. They should expect its provider to makes things so easy and satisfying for them that it feels just like room service.

GOLF Advisor reveals most-anticipated ‘Best of’ list of the year

GOLF Advisor reveals most-anticipated ‘Best of’ list of the year

Jan 16, 2019

Top 50 Golf Courses in the U.S. Determined by Reviews from Recreational Golfers

This Year’s Top 50 List Includes Eight New Courses in the Top 10; 22 New Courses Overall

GOLF Advisor has revealed its annual list of Top 50 golf courses in the United States, the website’s most-popular and most-anticipated list determined by recreational golfers who shared their reviews throughout the year with the online destination for traveling golfers.

Unlike golf course rankings published by industry insiders who have access to golf courses the public may never have the opportunity to play, the GOLF Advisor Top 50  list is totally consumer driven – by recreational golfers, for recreational golfers. Ages, handicaps and budgets of golfers using the website run the gamut, so the more than 825,000 reviews GOLF Advisor has accumulated showcase the golf course characteristics that are the most important to avid golfers across the country, like pace of play, staff friendliness and value.

What makes GOLF Advisor’s Top 50 list unique and interesting is the potential for volatility year-to-year due to changes in consumer tastes. These swings can depend on a variety of factors – anything from course conditioning to new pricing. This year’s list includes eight new courses within the top 10 that were not included last year, and 22 new courses overall.

“This is our fifth Top 50 list since we launched GOLF Advisor in 2014 and the variety of our reviewers continue to evolve,” said Brandon Tucker, senior managing editor, GOLF Advisor. “While the list includes a sampling of bucket-list courses that are delivering on high golfer expectations, a large selection of the list features special, more reasonably priced courses that are excelling in their local or regional market.”

More than 2,800 golf courses of the 144,000-plus courses reviewed on GOLF Advisor in 2018 were considered, having received the minimum 10 reviews to qualify for the Top 50.

“Reading through the reviews, we are seeing evidence of reviewers choosing to book at a golf course based on what golfers like them have to say on GOLF Advisor about the total experience,” Tucker said.

Other lists released this week include:  Top 25 Most Improved Courses; Top 25 Courses Rated by Value; Top 25 Course Layouts in the U.S.; Top 25 Courses for Staff Friendliness; Top-Rated Courses for Pace of Play; Top 25 Courses Rated by Conditions; Top 25 Courses for off-course amenities; and Top Courses by state.

Below is GOLF Advisor’s list of Top 50 golf courses for 2018. An asterisk signifies a course which has never previously appeared on the list:

  1. Bethpage State Park/Black Course* – Farmingdale, N.Y.
  2. Atlantic City Country Club* – Northfield, N.J.
  3. Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
  4. Tobacco Road Golf Club* – Sanford, N.C.
  5. Pilgrims Run Golf Club – Pierson, Mich.
  6. Black Lake Golf Club* – Onaway, Mich.
  7. Yocha Dehe Golf Club at Cache Creek Casino Resort – Brooks, Calif.
  8. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort/Snow Mountain Course – Las Vegas, Nev.
  9. Chariot Run Golf Club – Laconia, Ind.
  10. Mauna Lani Resort/South Course* – Kohala Coast, Hawaii
  11. Royal Manchester Golf Links – Mount Wolf, Pa.
  12. Pinehills Golf Club/Nicklaus Course* – Plymouth, Mass.
  13. Rams Hill Golf Club – Borrego Springs, Calif.
  14. Bear Slide Golf Club*- Cicero, Ind.
  15. Blackstone Golf Club – Marengo, Ill.
  16. World Woods Golf Club/Pine Barrens Course – Brooksville, Fla.
  17. Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  18. Seaview Golf Club – Bay Course* – Absecon, N.J.
  19. Kiva Dunes – Gulf Shores, Ala.
  20. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort/Sun Mountain Course – Las Vegas, Nev.
  21. Ballamor Golf Club*- Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
  22. Barnsley Resort* – Adairsville, Ga.
  23. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club – Orlando, Fla.
  24. Fox Hopyard Golf Club* – East Haddam, Conn.
  25. Prairie Landing Golf Club* – West Chicago, Ill.
  26. Riverwood Golf Club – Port Charlotte, Fla.
  27. Indian Wells Golf Resort – Celebrity Course – Indian Wells, Calif.
  28. River Course at Sevierville Golf Club* – Sevierville, Tenn.
  29. Founders Course at Verrado Golf Club – Buckeye, Ariz.
  30. King and Bear Golf Course at World Golf Village* – St. Augustine, Fla.
  31. Royal Hylands Golf Club – Knightstown, Ind.
  32. Heron Glen Golf Course* – Ringoes, N.J.
  33. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club – Pawleys Island, S.C.
  34. The Links At Union Vale* – Lagrangeville, N.Y.
  35. White Horse Golf Club* – Kingston, Wash.
  36. Whirlwind Golf Club – Devil’s Claw – Chandler, Ariz.
  37. Maderas Golf Club – Poway, Calif.
  38. Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course* – Buford, Ga.
  39. Harbor Links Golf Club at Sagamore Resort – Liberty, Ind.
  40. Quintero Golf Club – Peoria, Ariz.
  41. Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club* – Lewiston, N.Y.
  42. Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Lake Richard B. Russell – Elberton, Ga.
  43. The Palmer Course at La Cantera Resort – San Antonio, Texas
  44. Pole Creek Golf Club – Tabernash, Colo.
  45. North Conway Country Club* – North Conway, N.H.
  46. Grand Cypress North/South/East – Orlando, Fla.
  47. English Turn Golf & Country Club – New Orleans, La.
  48. Trump National Doral Miami/Red Tiger* – Doral, Fla.
  49. TPC Myrtle Beach* – Murrells Inlet, S.C.
  50. University of Georgia Golf Course – Athens, Ga.

The GOLF Advisor online destination grew rapidly in 2018, expanding services for the avid traveling golfer, including the debut of a GOLF Channel series and the introduction of hosted golfing trips. User traffic to the website hit all-time highs for four consecutive months during the year.

About GOLF Advisor

GOLF Advisor is the ultimate digital destination for traveling golfers, who love to play, travel and learn more about how the sport of golf can be experienced around the world. Featuring more than 825,000 reviews of 14,000-plus golf courses, GOLF Advisor serves as a one-stop, customized experience for golfers of all levels to find honest recommendations from their peers – and to offer feedback of their own – about any golf course they play, anywhere, anytime. The GOLF Advisor portfolio also includes a GOLF Channel travel series, GOLF Advisor Round TripGOLF Advisor Getaways, which are premium travel experiences at world-class resorts and clubs; and GOLF Advisor Club, offering exclusive member benefits and perks. A veteran staff of award-winning writers provides complementary, expert editorial content about golf travel, architecture and history. GOLF Advisor also is home to the popular ”Best of” Lists generated each year from authentic golfer reviews.

-NBC Sports Group-

Featured photo: Bethpage State Park’s Black Course