Knowledge Library

Knowing your competition

Benefiting from competitive data

Mar 29, 2019

Plus Vision eyes your competition 24/7; use the intel to help maximize your rounds and revenue per round


It’s important to know what your competition is doing with their pricing and how much inventory they have at any given time. The only question is: "how do you get that information?"

You could call their pro shops under assumed names and ask for a number of tee times to see what’s available; drive by their parking lots to see how full they are; visit their websites on a regular schedule throughout the day and log what’s available and for what price. In any case, you would need to have a lot of free time on your hands to get all this accomplished.

For those without that kind of free time, GolfNow Plus Vision automates this data collection, monitoring your competition’s websites and capturing all publicly accessible data in real time for your consumption at your convenience.

“Our super-users of Plus Vision, both those who use our Plus teams that work daily on clients’ businesses and the clients themselves, make it a morning routine,” said Mike Hendrix, Vice President of Business Services for GOLF Business Solutions. “It’s simple, the layout is intuitive and easy to understand, and in a couple of minutes you can get what all of your competitors are doing today, tomorrow and the upcoming weekend, which typically are the four days that are most important to our clients.”

The importance of competitive data to overall revenue management really can’t be overstated. Brian Skena, Manager, Business Services, Plus - also a PGA Member - makes it an essential part of his work on behalf of his clients. “My team is responsible for the brand and revenue management of our clients, which means we manage their entire online presence — inventory, website, social, position in their market and helping golfers find them with the right products at the right price at the right time. Competitive analysis is a big piece of that puzzle.

For some, pricing the competition is the only consideration. “We have hundreds of clients who are hyper-focused on competitor pricing,” Hendrix said. “And that’s fine. They are running their businesses on their theories. I don’t personally subscribe to that kind of pricing policy.”

Skena agreed. Plus Vision is a tool that very quickly tells you where you stand against competitors; he pointed out. “That piece of information fits into the overall revenue management process. We do well for our clients by creating a good inventory and branding through the use of auto-pricing, which follows a set of rules based on a variety of data. All of that leads us to a certain price under certain conditions. It is not about a race to the bottom.”

In fact, it is about holding or even raising prices when the data indicates. “Typically what we see in Plus Vision use cases is an understanding when your competitors have little inventory left,” Hendrix said. “Now you can connect those dots and make sure you aren’t lowering prices when the inventory landscape indicates supply is low so demand for your product will be high.”

Plus Vision is one of the tools that can instill confidence in your decision making. Also, when employed with other revenue management weapons like auto-pricing, Skena pointed out another significant return for golf operations: “When they see the results, and we are driving more rounds, a story emerges about who the golfers are. We see a unique booker, a different kind of golfer who is responding to the actions we’re taking.

“We as an industry have been talking forever in terms of ‘if we can get each golfer that plays our course to return one additional time than usual, we'd have a record year,’” he continued. “That’s what these tools give us an opportunity to do. It’s a new world out there, and we have to evolve. Vision and the other revenue management tools are how we do it.”

Golf course operations now can communicate with golfers via two-way texting

Expanding services reflect the rise of messaging

Mar 20, 2019

Texting their way to the tee sheet

“Conversational commerce” is more present in the field than ever before. Instant response time, immediate conversation and prompt support – it’s the new standard. There seems to be a consensus that the golf industry of today is leaner and more open to changes in technology and emerging trends. Consumers communicate through a variety of channels and, lately, the use of phones, email and even smartphone apps have not compared to the popularity of instant messaging. The industry is more open to change than ever before, and with that comes more opportunity. That’s clear from the news that GOLF Business Solutions’ popular Answers service now includes two-way texting, Facebook Messenger and website chatting.

 “I have been in the golf business since 1998. I have seen it all and I can say that I prefer the new way of doing things,” says Sean Dugan, Golf Operations Manager at Eagle Glen Golf Club in [CITY]. Dugan has been using the Answers platform for just over two years. “Everyone is moving towards technology because we save time and payroll,” he said.

The truth is that when it comes to entertainment, consumers generally spend more time on their mobile devices. Texting has the back-and-forth of a phone conversation without the need for both people to be free at the same time. Nor will a text conversation veer off into digressions the way phone calls can, eating up time. Email shares some of the same characteristics of texting, but emails can pile up and responding to them can consume time in a way that doesn’t happen with texting.

“If you compare phone, email and chat, it’s clear that preference changes based on user and situation. In many cases, chat or texting delivers a better experience,” says Andy Weeks, CEO of Chicago-based W5 Golf, a GOLF Business Solutions Partner helping build the existing Answers service into a full-on conversational commerce tool. “Website-based live chat was the intro for most consumers – it was well executed and became popular quickly. Now, there’s a real explosion in what people are calling omni-channel business communications.”

Since chat and texting first came along, additional functionality has been layered on. Those bells and whistles are a key reason that Facebook-which already had a huge investment in Facebook Messenger – spent $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp several years ago. WhatsApp is a messaging platform that allows a user to send texts, make voice calls and video calls, send images, documents and tag in their location.

“The world is moving toward chat and messaging because it doesn’t feel like an interruption,” says Mike Hendrix, vice president of GOLFNOW Business Services. “It allows the flow of whatever’s happening to continue.” Texting and chatting simplifies communication.

 “All the functionality that now supports SMS makes it a vital tool for major retailers,” says Hendrix. “The supermarket chain Kroger is selling produce and canned goods through texting. Jos. A. Bank is texting customers to show them men’s dress apparel.”

Hendrix has in the past seen traditionalism out-duel the acceptance of tech among golf courses, but he feels even partial acceptance of “conversational commerce” will have a big impact. “Courses should see this as just another option,” he advises. “If you’ve got 5,000 people in your database, maybe only 1,000 will want to do business with you this way. Well, let’s serve those customers-and make the work flow more efficient for your staff in the process. We want to help as many operators as possible, to reduce their friction in communicating.”

Looking toward the future of conversational commerce, people like Hendrix and Weeks like to think its value as a marketing tool won’t get tarnished by ill-advised tactics. Commerce via the phone gave us the nightmare of dinner-time telemarketing calls. Email wasn’t around long before spam and scamming became commonplace. Given the benefit of hindsight, that doesn’t have to be the case with messaging.

 “When this channel of communication gets developed as a marketing tool, it’s going to look different from email marketing,” Hendrix predicts. “So much has been learned as email marketing has evolved-what happens with conversational commerce will be more strategic.”

While “conversational commerce” is an easy concept to understand, adoption is still taking place. The Answers service is being implemented throughout the country. When asked to give advice to those who are unsure about this technology, Dugan advises fellow golf course operators, “Don’t get left behind. If your golfer wants to spend money at 11 p.m. and you aren’t available to take their call, they will spend it somewhere else.” Stay current by simplifying communication and serving all your customer’s needs.

Begin Phone Reservation service or contact your sales representative to add this new feature, then start connecting with your course's text-preferring customers. 

SEO tips for your business

Helping Google help your business

Mar 20, 2019

Search engine optimization secrets anyone can employ

For most of us, hearing the phrase SEO (Search Engine Optimization) makes our eyes glaze over. We get that it’s a critical element in marketing, but you’ve always thought understanding SEO and employing it for the benefit of business is the domain of digital savants. Metatags, backlinks, algorithms … the language alone feels like more than you want to take on, especially with the dozen other issues vying for your attention.

It’s true, SEO can be challenging. For those in competitive markets, maintaining a page-one rank on Google can contribute in big ways to the bottom line. So, perhaps engaging the services of an SEO professional makes sense. But for the bulk of the golf operations out there, getting started and improving your search engine rank does not require deep knowledge. In fact, you can take steps today that can improve your appeal to search engines, help you begin to climb in the search ranks and be found by customers in the buying mood.

The biggest mistake you can make in the SEO equation is doing nothing. “You may not see the importance of SEO, but I guarantee you that you have competition in your market that does,” said Mitch Lown, GOLF Business Solutions Senior Manager of Search Marketing, whose responsibility includes making sure GOLFNOW’s website is front and center in more than 100 markets across the country.

“It’s good to have an active monitoring system on which keywords are working in your area.”

“Here’s the good news,” Lown said of operations that have so far avoided SEO activities. “Go to Google and plug in the search phrase “golf courses” with the name of your market. Most likely, your course appears somewhere in the top 50 – and that will be out of hundreds of thousands of results. There are only 49 better than you. You’re not in a bad place. Now, it’s just a matter of optimizing and making adjustments.”

As mentioned earlier, that “optimizing” can occupy a person full-time for operations keen on reaping the benefits of high search rankings. But for this article, let’s concentrate on a handful of points and chores. The more of them you can employ, the better the results. But keep this in mind: This is a marathon and not a sprint. It may take weeks to see your rankings begin to climb. And you can’t rest on your laurels once the climbing has begun. You have to work to stay there. That said, here’s how to kick off your DIY SEO.

Understand a big component of Google’s algorithm is all about content and keywords. Golf course websites tend to focus on visuals more than words – lots of pictures of golf holes, clubhouses and events. That’s fine, but a key element is making sure that your website is easily understood by users and search engines. Having images is great for users, but it’s essential that you make sure search engines can crawl your website and easily understand the primary focus on your site. Utilizing your primary target keywords in your title tag, meta description, headers and content makes it that much easier for Google to understand what your site is about and, in return, Google will understand your page and website is relevant for your target keywords.

How do you know which keywords to use? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What are different phrases and keywords that one might use to find your golf course? You can also utilize free keyword tools to expand your list and begin to understand how popular each keyword is in terms of search volume.

Is there a specific quality of your course that makes it unique and attractive to golfers? Terrific greens, Nicklaus design, a Golf Digest pick … whatever it is about your course that makes it special, that’s another keyword or phrase. A third consideration is what your market tells you.

“It’s good to have an active monitoring system on which keywords are working in your area,” said GOLFNOW’s Justin Bolton, a Lead in the Business Services area, who helps smaller course operations on their SEO needs. “You can do this manually by visiting websites of the competition and seeing which keywords they are using. The GOLFNOW Plus service offers software programs that do all the work for you.”

Understand that Google resists that you be everything to everybody. It’s far better in Google’s world that you have a few keywords and phrases that are smartly deployed throughout your site. “If you try to jam 47 different things into your home page,” Lown said, “you won’t rank well for any of them. Know who you are and focus on that theme.”

Where to use the words? Headlines and sub-headlines matter more than body text to Google, but they are all important. Also important is how naturally you use your keywords. They should not seem shoe-horned into every sentence but rather flow naturally. Take the time to craft good, readable text because quality matters more than quantity.

Pro Tip: Type your keywords into Google search and see which courses rank at the top. Observe how and where your competitors are using the keywords. Model your usage on theirs.

Give Google more content. Generally speaking, eight out of 10 golf course websites are what we call “brochure sites,” meaning, just a few pages — a home page, an “About Us” page, course tour, scorecard, contact page and often not much more than that. Google crawls content. The more content you have, the more opportunity to get on Google’s good side. As you are able, add pages to your website devoted to your offering. Do you host events, weddings, business meetings? Do you have a restaurant, a bar, a pro shop? Give each one a page and, where it makes sense, integrate your keywords. But also follow the same keyword strategy you use for golf on your other offerings — meetings, weddings, parties, etc.

Don’t forget reviews and social media. When you respond to customer reviews (you are responding to customer reviews, right?) and when you post to your social media channels, consistently sneak in those keywords. Google notices.

"It’s a little time consuming but it’s important that your brand name is consistent everywhere," Bolton said.

Get your name and details right. “Make sure the way you are listed online is consistent across the board,” he advises. “I have a client whose course name showed up three different ways from their website to Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. It’s critical that your name is the same, your phone numbers, addresses, emails, every asset is consistently the same everywhere online.”

Bolton and the GOLFNOW Plus team make it a regular routine to crawl the internet finding inconsistencies for their clients. “If you are Pine Cone Golf Course, you need to find all the Pine Cone Golf Clubs, Pine Cone Club and any other permutation and correct it. It’s a little time consuming but it’s important that your brand name is consistent everywhere.”

Bonus Advice: Do this if nothing else — SEO is not a one-and-done proposition. It has to become a routine you’re dedicated to in order to garner its returns, which may mean you’d prefer to let the experts at GOLFNOW Plus handle it. While you think about that decision, here is one piece of advice Lown offers every course. “Search for golf courses in your market and note at the top of the page that Google returns a map and the top three. Clicking on ‘more places’ at the bottom of the graphic reveals all the results. Find yours and click on it. The graphic that opens up is something called Google My Business and this is editable by you, as the owner of the business. You can add pictures, video, business hours, etc. You should own and control this very valuable space.”

Learn more about Plus service to help with your course marketing. 

using G1 technology

Successful operators use business metrics to play detective and find the clues to profitability

Mar 07, 2019

Minor adjustments and fine tuning make the difference

To succeed in golf course operations, it helps to recognize that, in most cases, it’s a thin-margin enterprise. What you charge for a round of golf isn’t much more than what you’ve spent to make it available. If that sounds discouraging, it really just puts you on equal footing with the likes of Kroger, Costco or United Airlines—all low-markup vendors and all highly successful.

“What tends to work in a thin-margin business is attention to detail and motivating your team to rack up a lot of small successes,” says Charles Kingsbaker, a GOLF Business Solutions Senior Sales Specialist. “The good news is that revenue-management technology can provide the empirical data that will guide your detective work efficiently. Numbers that are easy to access and review will show an operator how to consistently squeeze additional revenue out of their course’s tee-time inventory.”

Representing the G1 technology platform in the field every day, Kingsbaker can demonstrate exactly how this game of small-ball works. The most natural starting point is creating baseline data for performance indicators like revenue per available tee time (RevPATT), a metric combining course capacity with actual dollars spent by golfers to play rounds. A course can apply the stat to a full season of play, to a single day of the week, or even to one four-hour block on the sheet that needs extra attention.

Capacity utilization is another metric that’s vital for smart decision-making and will alert you to the need to adjust. Putting the two together is part of basic analytics among effective managers. “If your tee time utilization is below 35 percent and your RevPAAT yield is only 55 or 60 percent of your highest-yielding round, that’s a scenario where the numbers are telling you some modifications of your pricing is in order,” says Kingsbaker.

Every course has tee times that go unused—the trick is to avoid “set and forget” pricing and be continually conducting tests and evaluating results. Kingsbaker worked with a GOLFNOW client course that identified a low-utilization period and “turned the dial down” on pricing for that part of the tee sheet. The result was higher utilization and a revenue boost of more than $5,000 for that particular block of times, versus the same period a year prior.

Every course counts rounds played, but there’s growing importance placed on the number of unique golfers making up that total. For example, the course that did 30,000 rounds in 2018 will help its cause greatly if it knows, for example, that 5,000 different golfers played an average of six rounds each. Loyalty is great, but a wide user base is a big advantage when you’ve got a marketing platform like the Plus service product offered by GOLF Business Solutions, which can connect with golfers readily via outbound communication and calls to action.

In a "destination" market, the number of unique golfers should be higher than in a very localized market. When that doesn’t happen, it’s a sign the course is missing out on visits from customers who would bring fresh energy to the operation and very likely spend as though they were treating themselves to a special day. “Growing your total of uniques isn’t something we know all about yet, but we do know it’s a negative when that data point trends downward,” says Kingsbaker.

Meanwhile, low markup is not the whole story for golf courses. You also sell high-profit items like beer, wine, hot dogs and golf shirts. Selling more of your tee time inventory (and building your population of unique users) positions your operation to move more high-margin products. “That’s a positive scenario that will show up in your spend-per-visit numbers,” says Kingsbaker. Again, the incremental gain for each unit—in this case a “visit”—doesn’t have to be much in order to add up to a significant boost in revenue. Small successes, all added together, will often spell the difference between disappointing results and impressive ones.

Deliver more at your course with G1. 

golf course operator checking reports

How to leverage your GOLFNOW Central reports and optimize for growth

Mar 07, 2019

Required reading with your morning coffee

Every hospital show on TV has its vital-signs moment. Someone pushes a gurney yelling BP is 180 over 40, pulse is 100 and white-blood-cell count is whatever. It’s a cliche scene but, nonetheless, important because it demonstrates the necessity to look at critical numbers to reveal a patient’s condition.

When golf course operators sign on with GOLF Business Solutions, they don’t start wearing scrubs. But they do gain access to critical performance reports designed to inform them how well or not-so-well their business is doing. Ryan Peers, a GOLF Business Solutions Metro Market Sales Manager, helps course operators become adept at pulling and examining these reports, so they can reset their strategy for optimizing revenue and profit performance.

“Eventually it becomes routine for a course manager—something they do with their morning coffee,” says Peers. “Any course that uses GOLFNOW for tee time distribution has access to a number of fundamental reports they can look at whenever they want, just by logging into GOLFNOW Central. The main report everyone wants to see is Rounds & Revenue – Course YOY, which also gives an average dollar cost per round for the selected period.”

Also in that group, “Core Platform” reports show year-over-year revenue performance for a selected period – most operators prefer a monthly look. “At a glance, you see that February 2018 gave you 2,000 rounds and $90,000 in golf revenue, while February 2019 gave you 10 percent less or 10 percent more,” explains Peers. “You’ll want to know this information as a historical trend that can inform decisions about tee-sheet management.”

Training and support are provided for the operator who is just starting out as a GOLFNOW report reader. “We make sure the operator can go through the reports knowledgeably – just a couple of clicks and very intuitive,” Peers says.

The portfolio of GOLFNOW performance-indicator reports goes far beyond the basic five that any affiliated operator can self-service. To obtain more granular reports, an operator would need to make a request with his representative.

The whole point of all this, in Peers’ view, is simple – “to help a course sell more golf.” Getting the staff bought in and responsive to the reports is also a clear goal. Once opened, they can be saved as either an Excel file or a PDF and forwarded to colleagues, ownership or anyone with a need-to-know status.

Obviously, a decision-maker in any business will be interested in data only as it guides their next move. “In the push to maximize tee-sheet revenue, you test out pricing adjustments then evaluate your results,” says Peers.

Recently, Peers was contacted by one of the operators with whom he works about revenue performance year-to-date and expressed some displeasure. Rounds played at his course for a particular period were down significantly. Revenue for that period was also down, though only slightly.

What happened? In this case, it was the rare case of a robust price increase. “He was irritated by the slight drop in revenue, but this operator had really pushed the envelope with his pricing,” Peers says. “But the real story was he discovered a lot of pricing power—going up something like $15 on average with very little revenue loss.” There is a risk even with small price increases, but this one delivered a lot of information about consumer demand and the price ceiling. The next logical step would be to ease off slightly and see whether a sweet spot had been discovered.

As a golf course operator in this current business climate, your customers can be somewhat less predictable than you might imagine. Don't underestimate the value of a set of tech tools that allow you to price-adjust with precision and ease. Soon, you will be optimizing revenue and profits reliably.

Learn how GOLFNOW Central can deliver for your facility. 

The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course pro shop

With strong support, a major upgrade to business software can happen in-season

Feb 20, 2019

Training and transition works, when your course is active

Problem: Your course has an outdated business management system that’s kept you from streamlining the golfer experience and running your operation with utmost ease and efficiency.

Solution: You fast-forward to a cloud-based, “consumer-centric” platform like G1 from GOLF Business Solutions, which combines all software and operating systems into one package. With G1, that means the tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, work schedules, inventory, payroll, vendor relations—all of it controllable with an Internet-connected smartphone or tablet, from anywhere. That is a robust upgrade over what’s found at most courses, to be sure.

More than 500 golf courses either have already installed G1 or have committed to integrating the technology into their operations. It’s a sequential process that requires training and teamwork, which you may think prompts many operators and their staffs to lean toward a switchover in the quiet of the off-season. But lately, quite a few have seen the advantage of changing out technology during the active golf season.

That realization is based on several factors. The first would be the experience and expertise of the GOLFNOW team that installs, trains, supports and troubleshoots G1 on-boarding—they’ve reached the point where it’s down to a science and the team can anticipate needs and issues before they arise.

Second, is the simple fact that any business training works best when staff members are using the new commands and functions in real-time, with customers in front of them and a support crew alongside. Third, is the importance of having year-round golf staff and seasonal staff on the job together, reminding one another of the operational procedures necessary for every circumstance.

“Transactions, record-keeping and planning procedures driven by software and systems will hit their stride when things become second-nature to the employee,” says Charles Kingsbaker, Senior Technology Specialist with GOLF Business Solutions. “That calls for a lot of repetitions and it requires a staff member to go through the full array of business functions. If you try to do this in a quiet, off-season period, you won’t have those opportunities. As a result, you’ll probably find that re-training becomes necessary.”

Kingsbaker ticks off a long list of business details to illustrate his point. “In one short period at the counter, a staff member may have to sell a season pass, sell a range plan, bill tournament charges to a master account, split tickets at a grill room table,” he says. “When no golfers are around and you’re told how to do that, you’ll remember some of it but you can’t make it automatic until you’re taking care of these things in real-time, repeatedly.”

Golf operators who’ve tried the in-season approach to on-boarding G1 say it works extremely well. Mark Lynch, Director of Golf at The First Tee of Greater Richmond (Va.), with a pair of local facilities, speaks to that possibility. Lynch is responsible for the Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course, outside the city proper, and for the Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range, which is downtown. Having achieved the rank of Major in the Army Reserve, Lynch has a solid foundation and belief that detailed plans are required to make any mission successful.

“I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I wasn’t anxious during those few days leading up to our conversion to G1,” says Lynch. “All of my training told me we needed to be prepared and get it right. As it turned out, the launch of G1 as our new management platform could not have gone better.”

As Lynch recounts the story, he stresses the value and contribution of the G1 support staff. “The install on day one and day two got us up to a functional level right away,” he recalls. “The GOLFNOW installers were there on-site the entire week, and in that time my assistants were able to understand how everything worked and they were using the program with confidence—whether that was check-in for golf, inventory sales, updating memberships, or whatever our golfers needed.”

Installing and training G1 during off-season closure is an option, but Lynch is convinced that on-the-fly accustomation is an excellent way to go. “We were able to make modifications to the system based on our specific needs during operations, knowing when the implementation team left we wouldn’t need to call support,” he says. “As we continue to grow the use of the system, we are able to work with GOLFNOW to add components to development to further bolster its functionality and future updates.”

Kingsbaker adds a nuance to this whole timing question. “There’s more than one strategy to the timing of installation,” he says. “An experienced operator knows where on the calendar they can fit in their training and go live, with just the right level of business activity to balance what they need for their golfers and what they want to do with their platform in order to make their move into the next generation of golf operations—which is what G1 is all about.”

Stone Creek Golf Club, Oregon City, Ore.

All upside as Oregon course adopts dynamic pricing

Feb 20, 2019

Online bookings increase, and golfers have no complaints

Back in the day, customary thinking was that the best golf spikes were metal. Even with the advent of plastic spikes, many golfers vowed to stick with steel until realizing the equal, if not better, gripping power of soft spikes – not to mention the fringe benefit of ending the destruction of pro shop carpets and hardwood floors! In short order, the market flipped to all-plastic (and flooring costs at clubs and courses went down for good).

Which brings us to dynamic pricing and the success story written last year by Stone Creek Golf Club, a Clackamas County-owned gem in the Portland suburb of Oregon City, which is managed by Total Golf Management Services.

The facility’s long-time head professional, Doug Suse, reports that Stone Creek had an extremely positive experience using this tool. Bearing in mind how change can be hard, Suse had braced himself for protests from his golfers. “There was no pushback from customers at all,” he says. “I was surprised. We prepared ourselves for negative comments, and literally there were none.”

The change also helped boost business. Stone Creek’s online revenue for tee times in 2018 increased 30 percent over the previous year – an all-time best. The problem of unsold times going to waste also seemed to ease. Suse saw more new faces than usual and didn’t notice any of his regulars dropping away or playing less.

It’s often said that hotel and airline reservation systems have trained the golfing population to view dynamically priced tee times as natural and logical. Makes sense, and yet the golf course is a place of beauty and site of countless fun experiences with friends – something that Seat 22A on a Delta flight or a room in some chain motel can’t boast. And yet to Suse, the moment of wide acceptance appears to have arrived.

“It’s a better way of pricing, for both sides,” he states. “If demand at a certain time on a certain day is light, the golfer pays less, and they realize that. When demand is strong, they pay a little more, and they’re okay with it. People want to book their golf quickly and they want to do it with their phone.”

The telephone as we used to define it is not part of Stone Creek’s new policy. If you call their shop to book a time, you’ll speak with a staff member and be quoted rack prices. Key point: Entering the world of dynamic pricing is something a golf course can do in stages. For Stone Creek, the likely next step is to go dynamic with phone bookings, as well.

“The dynamic price matrix as you view it online can be quickly scanned,” explains Suse. “Over the phone it might be a lot to explain—that’s what held us back. But we’ve discussed it and obviously there are ways you can direct the conversation and guide the customer along.”

Transitioning to this approach was fairly simple, according to Suse. He sat down with his GOLFNOW rep to go through the basics and hear a set of recommendations appropriate for the course and its market. “He came up with some parameters,” says Suse, referring to how far up or down the software would allow prices to move, “and we settled on the caps we would use.”

Currently the entire calendar year is organized under one matrix, but Suse and GOLFNOW are looking at seasonal variations to their pricing parameters. “The goal is to reduce the amount of unsold inventory and make life easy for customers,” he says. “We’re having success on both those fronts and we think we can use dynamic pricing to achieve even greater success in the future.”

Rory McIlroy and NBC Sports Group launch GOLFPASS

Rory McIlroy and NBC Sports Group launch GOLFPASS

Feb 07, 2019

Modern, Digital Membership Designed to Better Connect Golfers to the Sport

A new digital membership delivering comprehensive benefits tailored to the modern golfer’s lifestyle was launched earlier this week with the help of global golf superstar Rory McIlroy. GOLFPASS, a first-of-its-kind, direct-to-consumer subscription program, offers opportunities to play more golf, comprehensive tools to improve any golfer’s game; high-quality video content; and enhanced shopping and travel experiences. GOLFPASS is the product of two years of development and collaboration between Rory McIlroy Inc. and NBC Sports Group.

Through guest appearances on several shows during a whirlwind media tour of New York City, including  The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, McIlroy introduced GOLFPASS to a national television audience, giving golfers their first introduction to GOLFPASS.

“Golf has been a constant in my life, a passion I share with millions of others. Creating GOLFPASS with NBC Sports was driven by my desire to enrich the golf experience for fans all around the world,” said McIlroy. “Arnold Palmer showed tremendous vision when founding GOLF Channel in 1995 and it now stands as a significant part of his legacy. I have the utmost respect for the impact he made on the game and I will carry that spirit forward by helping to lead our sport into its digital future with GOLFPASS.”

“GOLFPASS is designed to make golf more accessible and fun using NBC Sports’ portfolio of golf tech and services that help better connect golfers to the sport. Whether it’s video instruction from the best coaches in the world or enhancing the golf experience on and off the course, GOLFPASS adds tremendous value for golfers,” said Mike McCarley, president, GOLF, NBC Sports. “Rory is the perfect partner for GOLFPASS, not only because he’s an approachable, genuine and global ambassador for golf – much in the same way Mr. Palmer was – he’s also eager to modernize how golfers engage with the sport in their daily lives, whether watching a screen or with a club in their hand.”

GOLFPASS perks and benefits span five pillars – Play, Learn, Watch, Travel and Shop – which are the most frequent ways golfers engage with the sport. A GOLFPASS membership – $9.99 per month or $99 per year – is unmatched and available today via and soon via connected TV, and iOS and Android apps. Memberships tailored for the U.K., Ireland and Australia will launch in the coming months.

Sustain and grow your course

Tips for a profitable 2019

Feb 07, 2019

A new year brings unique challenges to golf courses across the United States. To ensure that your course thrives this year, it’s important to evaluate the state of your business - both today and for tomorrow.

Sustain your course by:

  • Knowing your golfers - It's essential to understand who your golfers are - from their age to their tee time preference and favorite drink order. The best ideas to grow rounds come from having a more complete grasp of the needs and desires of your golfers.

  • Maintain a fully utilized tee sheet - Ensuring a full tee sheet is essential to maximizing revenue, but the importance of accuracy cannot be overstated. A loyal golfer can turn sour after one tee time mistake.

Grow your course by:

  • Creating efficiency and removing redundancies, where possible - A seamless, friction-free experience stands out. Allow golfers to focus their limited time on golf - not waiting in lines to meet your courses’ checks and balances.

  • Focusing on the golfer experience - Allow your staff to focus on the human experience by removing the burden of administrative tasks. Concentrate on delivering the best experience for the golfer and keep them coming back.

  • Expanding your reach for new golfers - Technology can be a solution to grow the number of players at your property,


Feeling challenged by your 2019 to-do’s?

Technology can be your partner in sustaining and growing your business. G1 brings together innovation, time savings and business-building solutions to grow golf for tomorrow. We make it easy to know your golfer, manage your tee sheet, create efficiency and deliver on the golfer experience.

Learn more about G1 for your course.

PGA Merchandise Show—solutions for business

PGA Merchandise Show—solutions for business

Jan 24, 2019

Orlando's biggest golf week is in full swing

Every year, golf’s big confab in Orlando not only shows off the “merchandise,” but also is becoming the place to learn about the industry’s many services. Stop by booth # 2173 to explore the GOLF Business Solutions exhibit space, and you’ll see that service story expertly told.

If you don’t quite recognize the GOLF Business Solutions name, it’s a new umbrella brand for a family of business services within the NBC Sports group golf portfolio. You can read all about it here.

But if you’re in town for the PGA Merchandise Show, do take a stroll around our space and say hello to one of the dozens of GOLF Business Solutions staff members who are there to help. All along the installation you’ll see GOLFNOW, GOLF Academy, GOLF Am Tour, GOLF Advisor and Revolution GOLF—those are the individual operations folded into the new GBS structure.

You’ll also see a signage dedicated to you, and your niche in the industry—Golf Facilities, Suppliers, Instructors, Golf Outings firms, Hospitality and Tourism companies. The need and desire to operate more efficiently and take advantage of every opportunity cutting across all those sectors of the golf industry. They’re all served and supported by the people you’ll find in booth # 2173. Even if you think you’ve seen all we have to offer your business, you’ll be surprised at what is new and possible in 2019.