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WHY GOLF BUSINESS SOLUTIONS?

7 8 0 0 +

golf course partners worldwide.

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registered GOLFNOW users.

850000+

golfer reviews of 14,750 courses worldwide.

WHAT OUR PARTNERS ARE SAYING

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The Latest from The Index

Split Rock golf course

Market your course with video

Jun 13, 2019

The famed sales trainer and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, brought the concept to everyman language when he said, "All things being equal, people buy from their friends." He then added, "All things not being equal, people still buy from their friends." It seems like common sense, but "relationship marketing" was considered an innovative breakthrough a generation ago.

It seems simple, but if a course operator wants to sell tee times to golfers, he should try and build friendships with golfers in his area. That's precisely what John Brewer Jr., General Manager of Split Rock Golf Club in Orient, Ohio, has been doing for years. Only now he's using short videos as a high-powered, revenue-driving tool in that effort. Teaming up with his Plus Specialist from GOLF Business Solutions, Melissa De La Paz, Brewer has been planning, producing and posting weekly videos, then tracking the results and continually refining strategy.

"A local company that does video production and marketing for small businesses made a presentation to us that included some of the results they could deliver, in terms of click-throughs and likes and so forth," says Brewer. "The numbers were basically the same as what we're achieving on our own, in our work with Melissa, so that was very satisfying to see."

Golfers who follow "The Rock" on Facebook enjoy the videos and don't mind Brewer's straight-forward approach.

"We're doing this to start a conversation with our customers and see where it leads," says Brewer." It's personal. It's not fancy in the least, and maybe that's why people come into the shop and start talking about our videos and ask us what we're planning to do next."

All marketing and selling should conclude with a call-to-action—that's the accepted wisdom. However, in relationship marketing, the action isn't necessarily a purchase. Earlier this season, Brewer worked with De La Paz on a video promoting a used-ball drive that resulted in some 20 golfers showing up to donate buckets of shag balls that had been gathering dust in their garages.

"We had an unexpected range ball shortage, and I know for a fact that half our players have a big stash of scuffed balls they can't seem to toss out," explains Brewer. "We put out our request via video and got a great response. Everybody was talking about it—that's the whole point anyway, the back and forth interaction."

Mike Hendrix, Vice President of Business Services at GOLF Business Solutions, agrees entirely with the Split Rock concept of video that is sincerely personal. The point of it is making a genuine connection, not an action-driven message that a typical marketer would use.

"When you are selling golf," says Hendrix, "you're basically inducing a person to do the thing they want to do. They want to engage with their favorite activity in their ideal environment. So, let's just get the engagement process started—and video is the tool for that. It's natural and easy to consume video—especially on your smartphone, which is where so much content gets consumed today."

Led by Hendrix and Plus Specialist Gabriela Vaughan, the GOLF Business Solutions team recently introduced Clubhouse Bulletin, a video newsletter customized for private clubs as a way for them to connect with members. The natural ease and charm of Bailey Mosier, a GOLF Channel studio host, supply those qualities. Mosier fronts (and co-produces) these customized "video newsletters" for the top clubs now enrolled in the program.

By using broadcast-quality production elements, with the GOLF Channel Newsroom as a backdrop, a Clubhouse Bulletin segment holds a viewer's attention as it delivers engaging content—news, events, and important updates. Other production values include professional course imagery, a scrolling information ticker, and club-specific branding in each video.

"Club GMs and officers will view a sample segment and assume there's a high cost to get involved," says Hendrix. "But the cost of entry for a club to add this powerful communication tool and really build engagement is very reasonable." While it's generally a means of connecting with and retaining the existing member, Clubhouse Bulletin enrollment also allows a club to create an outreach video showcasing it for potential new members.

Humans are wired to process information visually–it's how our brains work. Golfers are wired to enjoy their experiences at your course or club by personally connecting with the people who provide them with service and a great product. Short videos inviting viewers to come and enjoy themselves will make a strong impression—and produce business results.

To discover more about Clubhouse Bulletin and what it can do for your course, CLICK HERE.


Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando benefits from the Premium Marketing Program

Premium Marketing Program fills tee sheets

Jun 11, 2019

For anyone attempting to fill a tee sheet, the gold standard in digital marketing is GOLF Business Solutions' Premium Marketing Program - an enhanced-marketing program exclusive to online tee time sales. It's been around since 2011 and continues to gain a stronghold in the marketplace.

Eligible partner courses who invest in PMP benefit from a wide array of advantageous placements and optimized positioning. The most significant advantage is top placement among the search results seen by golfers when shopping online in a particular market. That top placement has enough prominence to be a real advantage.

As an added new feature, PMP provides a newly redesigned way for participating courses to show up on the Destinations page. This top-of-page placement is sure to catch the eye of any golfer traveling outside his or her home base.

"What the golfer sees is high-res imagery and information about the property, funneling the user directly to the course's inventory page to facilitate the booking," says Matt Guy, Senior Manager of Sales Operations for GOLF Business Solutions. "Previously, the up-top placement of the PMP partner had a banner-ad look. We've moved to a tile-type design that creates a solo spotlight position above the fold."

PMP golf courses are part of an exclusive group, with just over 1,300 enrolled in the program. Being a good fit is all about how engaged and energized an operator is, and whether his/her strategic ideas align with the concepts on which PMP is based.

The product development team at GOLFNOW has tweaked and improved the program steadily, using performance analytics along with feedback from course operators. The revenue record over that period tells a compelling tale of effectiveness.

“When you look at the before-and-after for a course that joins PMP, the average revenue increase within the GOLFNOW booking platform is 30 percent,” says Guy. “Courses in the program get seen online very prominently, as part of a rotation. At times they will be shown exclusively. The overall result is much-improved click-through to completed bookings.”

The majority of current PMP golf courses have been on the platform for multiple years without interruption, according to Guy. “When a spot opens, the GOLFNOW rep in that geographic area will generally have several courses in mind as a replacement.” A belief in optimizing revenue through effective use of dynamic pricing is a primary indicator of strong potential as a PMP partner.

PMP courses are also featured in daily emails to the platform’s golfer database, which is geo-based. A significant benefit appears in the “Best Bets” email. This email is exclusive to the PMP level of partnership, which makes you the only option that the golfer arriving with cash in hand will see.

“That’s 100 percent share of voice,” says Ryan Heaton, Director of Sales Operations for GOLF Business Solutions, with emphasis on the once-weekly email, “which by any measure is a huge value.” In addition to that exclusive Best Bets positioning, participating courses also gain access to the “Book Early” email. It spotlights PMP partners and is delivered to golfers’ inboxes based on their booking behavior and similar course interests.

Similarly, there is a “stay and play” page on GOLF Advisor for every market. Although best suited to resorts, any PMP course that finds a lodging partner can provide that information to its GOLFNOW rep. Then, package links are set up so that customers get routed directly to the hotel partner and are supplied with a code to book right then and there. “Listing yourself on the stay and play page will result in a lot of very relevant impressions,” says Heaton.

There’s also the potential to get exposure on GOLF Channel’s “Morning Drive” show as well as promotion on social media postings that reach 175,000 golfers who follow GOLFNOW on the big three platforms of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

To make a move to GOLF Business Solutions’ Premier Marketing Program, you must be well-positioned and ready to try to maximize the facility you’ve worked so hard to build and beautify. PMP is unmatched in today’s marketplace. CLICK HERE to learn more.


Golf Advisor reviewer

GOLF Advisor - why ratings and reviews matter

May 28, 2019

When was the last time you spent money without first checking reviews and ratings online? Verifying what others think of the product or service has become integral to the buying process. It’s true for washing machines, hotels, restaurants, shoes and plumbers. It’s even true for golf courses.

Mike Lowe, Vice President and General Manager of GOLF Advisor, has been involved since it’s inception with golf’s leading source of course ratings and reviews.“We saw the potential for user-generated reviews and built a great foundation on GOLFNOW,” he said. “Within a year of our launch as a separate brand in February 2014, GOLF Advisor already had become the internet’s leader, having aggregated nearly 300,000 reviews.”
 

GOLF Advisor
 

GOLF Advisor’s rapid trajectory has continued hosting nearly 900,000 reviews covering more than 15,000 courses worldwide. They’ve recently expanded GOLF Advisor's travel footprint through a new GOLF Channel television series, hosted trips and more. These offerings ensure golfers deciding where they want to play next will begin that search at GOLF Advisor and GOLFNOW.

To benefit users, GOLF Advisor expands its content offerings well beyond merely posting user-generated reviews. Trust is essential, says Lowe. “When you’re on GOLF Advisor versus Yelp or others, you are getting expert editorial from our writers. These ratings and reviews from the experts are matched up with peer-to-peer reviews. Additionally, from our angle, you know that the golfer giving five stars on the course you are looking at is John Smith who is 55 to 64 years old with a three handicap. It gives you, the golfer, the best of both worlds — reviews from experts and from the actual golfer that you relate to. When our writers say you can expect a great experience, you can see if golfers like you are saying the same thing.”

That attention to high-quality content has paid off. “When we launched we had no presence in the search engine rankings,” Lowe said.

“Today, a major percentage of our traffic comes from search. We rank extremely well for destinations and also really well for golf courses. That strong SEO presence not only is great for getting new customers, but also, once that golfer finds us, they use us as one of their stops. They look to us for advice.”

There is no question that ratings and reviews of your course matter on GOLF Advisor. Lowe says his team is blunt in explaining that fact to operators who may take a casual approach to customer reviews or ignore them altogether.

“It’s free, there is no cost to them to respond to reviews, change photos, feature their strongest characteristics and so forth," he continued. "They can choose to engage or not to engage. But the fact is we see the golf courses who do get involved really benefit.”

Mission Inn Resort & Club in Orlando can attest to the benefits. “To say that the GOLF Advisor reviews and ratings have helped the resort is quite an understatement,” said Drew Toth, director of sales and marketing. “Golf rounds and golf package growth are up substantially.”

Michael Bowery, director of golf for Mission Inn, echoed that view. “We have a whole mix of business we have cultivated over the years — corporate business, golf tournaments, fundraising events. When we get everyone together before a shotgun start, I’ll share the story about how special this place is. When I tell them they are about to play El Campeón and it is consistently a top-rated golf course in the state of Florida on GOLF Advisor that gets their attention.”

Bowery pointed out Mission Inn’s exemplary ratings and reviews on GOLF Advisor are a key element in the selling process.

“The tough part is getting the golfers’ attention and getting them out here. Once they get here and experience Mission Inn, they come back. I mean, we have a group that has returned every year for 43 years. But when people are planning a golf event in Orlando, and they see our rankings are so high, they add us to their rotation. Ratings and reviews are the most powerful part of the marketing mix,” Toth said simply.

To maximize its power, you must nourish your connection to the golfer and engage them in the review. Thanking someone for complimenting your course goes a long way to cementing a loyal customer relationship. And when a golfer cites something that was lacking in his or her experience with your course? Acknowledging the customer’s issue directly, perhaps even offering a bounce back round at a discount, is a proven way to restore a customer’s perception. Their review is also feedback to guide what to fix at your facility, especially if you see the same complaint more than once.

Lowe likes to remind operators — especially those concerned about negative reviews — that the overall average for courses is 3.9 stars out of five. “Most golfers are sharing great experiences. And on those occasions where there may have been a bad review because of course condition or a temporary situation at the facility, our algorithm heavily weighs the most recent six months. A bad review in the past isn’t going to poison your rating forever.”

Whether it’s mitigating a less-than-stellar review or upping your ratings review game and reaping the rewards, Lowe offers some simple advice any operation can start employing today:

“Enthusiastically and consistently solicit reviews.”

Reviews are valuable currency, and the more you have, the better. Remind golfers throughout your facility. “Print up business cards that ask golfers to visit GOLF Advisor and rate their round,” Lowe said. Have your cart and bag drop staff pass the cards out. Train them to ask every customer about his or her round and ask for the review. Some operations have iPads available so employees can ask for the review right there with the customer.

“And most importantly train all of your staff to greet guests, communicate politely and deliver top-shelf service. I work with some courses that reward any employee who gets called out in a review by name. That’s one way to incentivize great service and ensure a great review,” says Lowe.

Finally, Lowe advises all courses to put their best foot forward on GOLF Advisor by updating photos and content and to dedicate some time daily to engaging with reviewers. Two-way conversation is your opportunity to thank customers, acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake and show every potential customer the experience they can expect.

Discover more about how GOLF Advisor can boost your business today! LEARN MORE >>